Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Death In The Family

My husband of twenty-eight years died on Thursday, November 13, 2014. He was an 81-year old victim of prostate cancer and early onset dementia. Our marriage was the second for each of us, and took place in Boston, Massachusetts on Sunday, November 30, 1986.

The grief and feeling of significant loss has been at times quite overwhelming, but on this one month anniversary of the sad event, the skies are gradually beginning to brighten. Music ... particularly jazz, classical and opera have been my close companions, often generating floods of theraputic tears.

Often choose to sit and stare at the familiar faces in my favorite black and white movies of the 1930's and 1940's, a glass of any sort of alcholic beverage within easy reach, zero appetite. Hardly leaving the flat except for the most necessary trips, sleeping when weary, moving about in a perpetual daze.

It is a well-worn and easily disputed theory that drinking sufficient quantities of alcohol can inspire artistic types to explore imaginative concepts while writing or painting or cooking or planning the perfect crime. Yesterday I consumed a large amount of Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay, chilled to perfection and served in a fragile-stemmed wine glass, hoping to ignite the literary engine or at the very least, perk me up a bit. I did feel quite a bit more relaxed and cheerful when the wine was accompanied by a healthy dose of some of my favorite recordings by the Count Basie Band.

The wine did the trick: the idea popped into my consciousness fully formed at approximately 6 o'clock in the evening when I wrote a friend asking if there might be a chance to sing in a favorite jazz club in her city sometime in the spring. I wrote: "To dip my toes ... to re-enter the arena ... to feel alive again". The very gratifying response from the club manager arrived in my mail box less than five hours later: "Yes and Yes ... can you do May 15 and 16, a good spring-time slot". I have accepted the invitation with some serious glee and the knowledge that I have a full five months to loosen my vocal chords and tighten my waist-line.

My husband and very dearest friend will never be forgotten. I need only remember this song written in 1922 by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn, made famous by Al Jolson, to remember his sweet smiling face and gentle blue eyes:

Nights are long since you went away
I think about you all through the day
My buddy, my buddy
Your buddy misses you

I miss your voice, the touch of your hand
And just to know that you understand
My buddy, my buddy
Your buddy misses you


Connie Ciampanelli - RI said...

Please accept sincere condolences on your profound loss. Wishing you those clearer skies in the days and years ahead.

From one of your biggest fans from your home state.
Connie Ciampanelli - North Providence

Hopefl said...

Saying "I'm sorry" does nothing to bring him back as you knew him first. However, when there are no other words that have not been uttered by other people at other times, that is the least and the most that can be said. I send you the most comforting hugs imaginable, and hope you will wrap yourself in the healing mink of music.
Love, now and always,
Mollie Moses


Dearest Carol your glorious voice has touched the ears and hearts of so many as I write this to you from Australia. I only hope that you are able to hold on to all the good times you spent together and that they will give you comfort when you need it most. Perhaps through singing again you will be able to find your inner joy once again and also consider recording again so that we who are far away can hear you once again. With much love Anthony Perth Western Australia.

Sloane said...

Dear Anthony: I can't tell you how much your kind words mean to me. I have been deliberating about a modest return to "the action", and plan a sort of out-of-town tryout in May. If all goes well, I will enter the fray once again. Thank you for taking the time to write, and a very Happy New Year. -Carol Sloane

James said...

A beautifully written and very moving piece, Carol - all the more so for its unmaudlin, un-self-pitying tone, the lack of which is a marvel, given the hugeness of this loss. Thanks for opening your heart to us.

Jim Gavin

Jack Reilly said...

Touching remembrances if your Buddy.

Jack Reilly