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By , Albuquerque, NM
When I was eight years old my father was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Before my father got sick he used to write music. He was a composer, and he played piano and percussion. His music was art. I honestly don’t remember when he got sick. I’m sure my parents sat me down and told me things were going to change but I don’t remember. I’m sure he got worse with time, but I don’t remember that either. I didn’t really understand what was going on. In my house, we have a music studio for my father to make music in. He doesn’t use it much anymore but when he does it’s enchanting. The happiest I’ve ever seen him is when he’s working.
A few days ago I was looking though some old CDs and one of them had my father’s music on it. I decided to listen to it, and all of these memories of him being healthy came back to me. Any anger I had towards him or towards his illness went away. I felt very calm. I had forgotten this part of my father, the musician. I had forgotten his pieces of music, but once they started playing, I remembered again. I remembered the man, not the disease, and I realized how powerful music is.

This music is the music of my childhood. I am a musician, but the music I remember most is not the music that I learned, it’s the music my father played for me. I remember sitting on his lap while he played the piano. He never played pieces he had learned, he played pieces he had written. They were always beautiful and haunting, and I can’t believe that I forgot that part of my father.

Through the years he’s gotten progressively worse, and he hardly every plays anymore, but I love it when he does. It’s very hard seeing someone you love hurt and be sick, but the memories of what he was like before he got sick help me through, and all those memories for me are of my father playing music, and me sitting on his lap, listening.

There was a song that my father would always play for me that was not one that he wrote. That song was “Lullaby” by Billy Joel. He started playing that song for me when he started feeling sick, which was before he was diagnosed with MS. He knew something was wrong, and he thought he was going to die. The song, while it is a children’s lullaby is about dying. He would always play it for me before bed. I always thought it was a sad song, and I didn’t like it very much because it made me sad, but it is now one of my favorite songs because of the memories I have of it. There is a part of the song where Billy Joel talks about himself passing away, but how he will always be with his child. I think that’s why my father liked the song so much, and why I like it now.

Most of my memories as a child with my father revolve around music, and him playing music for me. Music is a very powerful thing, and can bring back a lot of memories. I remember how my family would come together to listen when my father finished a song. He worked at very late hours of the night and went into the early hours of the morning. My father says that songs just come to him; it’s his gift. Once a tune hits him, he has to go and start playing right away or he’ll lose it. I wish I had the same kind of creativity as he does, but I’m not good at coming up with tunes. My father started writing songs when he was in his early teens. He had a grand piano in his house, and he would just sit down and play what was going on in his head. He used to be too weak for that, but he is on a new medication that is slowly making him heal.

My father is an inspiration. He is very ill, but he still tries most of the time to be strong for my mother and me. The way I reconnect with the person he was before he was sick is through his music. His music is the music of my childhood, and whenever I hear certain songs, whether it’s one of his or it’s Billy Joel’s Lullaby, I tear up a little, because I wish things were like they used to be. But I am a stronger person because of my father being ill, and he is still a great father even though he is ill. Music is now, and always will be a huge part of my life.




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ROYCEPHUSThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
today at 8:29 pm:
What a beautiful tribute to your father and his music. This was exquisitely written and totally deserved the Editors Choice.
 
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