dad, one month later

My dad passed away on January 5, after Alzheimer’s slowly took more and more away from and of him over the past years. At his funeral I read something I wrote in ten minutes in the middle of the night after he had passed. I still feel it is something he gave to me, he would have said this if he could have.

I have translated it from the original, which is in Dutch. Some words and meanings may be a bit lost in translation.

Once upon a time there lived a boy with a heart full of music. Harmonies, hymns, songs full of faith and mirth. Music was his life, his heart sang in a clear boy’s voice.

Early on in his life came a dissonance. He had to suffer through starvation, see many painful things that made the boy sad and scared.

He got scared of death, because death was so intense, so raw.

He got scared of people, because they were mean, said no to him with a loaf of bread in their hands.

He got scared to give, because he thought he had nothing more to give.

He got scared of love, because it did not seem sincere.

The bombs stopped, the boy grew up.

One day he saw the most beautiful girl in the world. She had pretty curls and a sweet, soft smile. She had music in her heart, he heard it, straight through his fears. He showed her his red metal steed, and together they drove past fields and roads. The music in his heart sang, but the fear stayed. The notes of love stayed hidden from many, sometimes also from himself.

The music in his heart colored his life. First came the clarinet, after that he loudly sang along with the songs from his life in military service. The trombone tore through silence, and his fingers magicked music from the keys of his organ. He also sang the songs from his childhood for his children, all four of them.

He made music, and lived for it. He filled everything with sound, with thundering song. With all those notes, the music of his heart, he chased his fears away.

With music he could give.

The children flew the coop. Some of them had children themselves. His grandchildren were the light of his life, they could see straight through the scared, see into his heart.

He got older and the fears of his childhood took over his brain, made him angry and confused and distant.

Then his heart grew stronger, music became his whole life. His scares surrendered. He no longer knew what war was, sadness or cruelty.

He was only the boy. The boy sang. The boy played. The boy laughed.

His body lost the strength to share his music, but at his last moments his eyes sang, and his last strength found its way into a smile, full of happiness.

He flew away on the voice of his beautiful girl, deep to his heart.

His breath, his smile, his music fell silent… in love.

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