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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

wishing you were somehow here again

From a very early age, I fell in love with musical theater. I, among many others, dreamed of a day I would headline a Broadway show. My grandmother who raised me never really seem to believe I had what it took to be a star; so neither did I. I am not blaming her for any of my failed dreams; but rather wishing I could have proved her wrong. She never said I couldn't do it; she rather pointed out my flaws and told me I would have to work harder to be a professional. I took that as a lack of confidence. She loved to hear me sing, most of the time. Her favorite song that I would sing to her was Music of the Night. When I taught myself how to play a medley of Phantom of the Opera songs, she loved that as well. My dream was to be the Phantom and have my grandmother sit in the best seat of the house and watch me sing before a sold out crowd on Broadway. I wanted her to see the applause I would get and the standing ovation. I wanted to be able to hand a bouquet of red roses to her while on stage so everyone could see my mother; the mother of a star. Obviously this dream never really took off.

My grandmother and I were an odd couple; we were more like best friends than relatives. I think that's why it was so hard for her to discipline me into the person she wanted me to be. We had our disputes, we went everywhere together and we even shared secrets amidst laughter and tears. We loved each other. She means everything to me.

When The Phantom of the Opera came out in the movie theater, I had a chance to come home to San Diego and watch it with my grandmother. We were in absolute awe. I had never seen a production of Phantom in my life; I had only listened to Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman sing it on the original soundtrack, over and over again. It was a magical moment for the both of us.

Two years later after seeing the movie together, my best friend passed away and I can only hope see has continued to watch over me. She took me aside before her death and asked me to sing for her funeral and I agreed. I didn't dare sing Music of the Night at her funeral, but my sister sang an altered version of Think of Me that was another favorite of hers that my sister sang beautifully. I sang a song titled Mama from Il Divo, which was a request of my aunts on behalf of the family. I got a chance to do a show for my grandmother before she died in which I sang Music of the Night and played my piano medley of Phantom music. She was in tears as was I. Thinking back on that day, I realized she was giving me the chance to show her I was a star; I didn't need to be on Broadway to prove it to her.

Now I have been to New York a few times and, of course, now I live here. So anyone would assume that a fanatic like me would have seen Phantom a million times over. It actually wasn't until last Friday that I finally went to see it. Yikes! I think, subconsciously, it felt wrong without my grandmother with me. However, it wasn't long after the music started that I felt her sitting beside me and enjoying the show. Another magical moment my best friend and I got to share.

Since then I have been like Christine, wishing her dead father and best friend were somehow alive again and able to see her grow up and rise to become a star. She begs for him to come back and guide her and to let her hear his voice again. In the end she realizes she has to move on otherwise the pain of not having him there will engulf her.

I miss my dear friend and mother and wish I could just call her like I used to. She would always bear her testimony to me of the gospel and of Jesus Christ. She would always tell me she was praying for me, to which I would always respond, "Well, someone has to." I know I am not the only one who has lost someone near and dear to their soul, but I can't help to express my loneliness and grief that I feel without her tangibly here in my life.

She always told me when I was being a brat that I should be grateful for her because she was my best friend; the only one who knew the real me and still loved me anyway, besides God. She was right and I miss her, but somehow I have to find a way to move on and know that the picture of us together on my piano and the many memories I have of us is sufficient, for now. The frame in which the picture resides reads: Through Thick and Thin.

You have been caught Jey Walking!

"You were once my one companion
you were all that mattered
You were once a friend and [mother]
then my world was shattered

Wishing you were somehow here again
wishing you were somehow near
Sometimes it seemed if I just dreamed,
somehow you would be here

Wishing I could hear your voice again
knowing that I never would
Dreaming of you won't help me to do
all that you dreamed I could

Passing bells and sculpted angels,
cold and monumental,
seem, for you,the wrong companions
you were warm and gentle
Too many years fighting back tears
Why can't the past just die?

Wishing you were somehow here again
knowing we must say goodbye
Try to forgive
teach me to live
give me the strength
to try

No more memories, no more silent tears
No more gazing across the wasted years
Help me say

"Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again"
from Andrew Lloyd Webber's
The Phantom of the Opera


Bravone said...

Yay for Grandma! Your good memories of her will last forever.

Camp Dennis Est. 2006 said...

Jey, I'm so touched by your post. I was always thankful that Grandma could be there for those of you who needed her and I always respected her for parenting so many. You've given me a gift of knowing her just a smidge more by what you've written. Thank you!

I wish I could say that it gets easier but I really don't think it does, not when you really love someone. My maternal grandmother died when I was thirteen and it's left a gaping hole in my heart. At times I feel her near and I cling to that.

Please know you are loved and cared for, even by crazy relatives you've never met!


Anonymous said...

Is this picture of you and your grandmother? If so, you are VERY handsome. And, I am glad you have such fond memories of your grandmother.

Happy night!

Jey Walker Gladstone said...

Yeah, that's me and my Grandma - thanks for the compliment. This is the first and only time I've included a picture of myself. It is also the last :D

thanks bravone and Marie too!

Jill May said...

Beautiful post, Jey. I am 100% sure she is still by your side and watching over you. We miss you!!!!