Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Musical memories


My husband and I heard the Ann Arbor Symphony Saturday night at the Michigan Theater. We’ve been going to the symphony for years with my Aunt who lived in Ann Arbor. She attended and supported all sorts of musical venues both professional and at the University of Michigan. We was lucky to be invited to many of them.

This season I bought the tickets, instead of her, two of them, intending that she and I would enjoy the music together until she couldn’t any more, and then my husband would fill in. As most of you know she enjoyed the September concert, but then things took the turn we all knew was coming and she died in October.

Sitting in the audience on Saturday night listening to Mozart I imagined that the woman next to me was my Aunt.

It almost worked. If I squinted and looked up at the ceiling I could, out of the corner of my eye, still see my Aunt’s face turned up to the stage, enraptured by the music, totally immersed.

I tried to feel that way too.

But it wasn’t the same, and at the end of the concert I felt sad. I still feel sad tonight.

I know I should be happy and grateful for all the wonderful memories I have of concerts and musicals and theater we shared together. All the meals and laughs and conversations…but tonight I just feel sad.

And that’s OK. There’s plenty of time to smile about the fun things we did together, and I will someday soon. These early days in the grief process I’m just going to go with the feelings that present themselves. Sad, happy, a little of both, it’s all good.

I had her in my life for 66 years. It’s going to take some time to adjust to having her around in a different sort of way.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

21 thoughts on “Musical memories

  1. Yes, that is quite an adjustment after 66 years. No wonder you are sad. But what a beautiful place for music!


  2. There are people who take up a bigger space in our hearts than others. Your aunt was one such person. It’s normal that it will take some time to feel less sad and then one day, most of the memories will bring smiles instead of tears. What a lovely activity you two had! Hugs to you.


  3. oh, wow, 66 years. Makes me think about myself. My half-sister is 95, I’m 74, so that makes it (ok gotta take my shoes off here) well, ok, that makes it 74 years that we’ve been on this planet together. I adore her. And I adore that you knew your Aunt was there with you at that concert. No need to “should” feel happy. It’s good to feel sad, it really is. That’s important. I like that you could imagine her there with you. Wondering if my perspective will change when my half-sister (my sister) dies. Bless you.


    • I’m sure she was there, somewhere..just not sitting next to me like she has been for decades. I think she was in the air and up in the balcony and above the stage, and over in the wings. I’m glad your sister is still around so that you can share some things, even if it’s by phone or letter.


  4. I totally understand- my aunt passed away a year ago at age 96. A good, long life, but I am at times overcome with a feeling of loss still. It just hangs on. Grateful I had her for so many years, but that lingering sadness is still there. >3 >3


    • I’m sorry about your aunt. Yes, a good long life. My aunt was 87 and died from cancer. Without that I’m sure she would have made it to 100. I expected that she would. Yes the sadness just hangs around, but I know that someday it will find another place to go.


  5. Dawn, you’re so fortunate to have shared so many memories with your aunt. Yes, I imagine it’s very hard going to places where you miss her, where her presence still fills your heart. But I’ve got to wonder if the woman sitting next to you, the one you tried to “see” as your aunt, just might have been missing somebody special, too. In the meantime, don’t rush those feelings of grief; they’ll get easier one of these days, and you’ll be able to enjoy those special places again, enveloped with the happy memories of the past.


  6. What a beautiful venue to relive memories.


  7. Living seems to be all about making adjustments. Hugs.


  8. Another time will come when you will be at a concert and tears of joy and gratitude will come to your eyes. It is impossible to predict our responses to music, which taps into all of our emotions — just not always the emotions we expect when we are waiting for them.


    • Music was so entwined in our lives, like art and books were in yours and David’s lives. I’ve cried at a few concerts because it was so beautiful, or something reminded me of my folks. There weren’t tears Saturday, just a deep ache.


  9. What a beautiful tribute to your Aunt. And totally understandable to be sad. All of those wonderful memories together will make you smile when you least expect it!


  10. I’m sure you will always treasure your time with her. Sounds like you had a special relationship. Mozart and memories – perfect!


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