I knew what I had to do but my judgment was over powered by my heart thrashing through my body. Draped in grief black as night I prepared my solemn language of music to help soothe the mourners in their sorrow. I had not been to a funeral since my father’s four years ago, and now I was preparing to play my violin to honor my grandfather at his own. When my mother approached me with this particular task I was quite hesitant. I was not comfortable performing in the open summer breeze of Rosecrans Cemetery, in fact I was not comfortable performing anywhere by myself. My niche was cloaked behind hundreds of other musical instruments within a Symphony Orchestra, not alone with the heat of the spotlight bearing down on me. The thought of standing detached from the rest of the grievers with my violin staring into their tear stained faces frightened me. What if I played the wrong note? What if I choked? I pondered the possibilities but one look into my mother’s pleading eyes changed all of my perceptions. This performance was not about me and my potential mistakes and embarrassment. I had to play not only in remembrance of my grandfather, but also for my mother. She held my hand and picked up my petrified body when I learned of my father’s unexpected death. She captured the tears from my broken heart and was my warmth when I saw my father’s ashes buried underneath in the snow. When I blamed myself for my father’s death, my mother was there to comfort and reassure me of my innocence. It was she who helped me through all of my darkest hours and now it was my turn to help her with the loss of her father. The morning of August 8th 2010, I gathered my courage and performed my musical appreciation in honor of my mother, father and the thousands of fallen soldiers like my grandfather, for without any of them, I would not be the person I am today.