A Concert, a Flight, and Memories of Aunt Mar

As I sit on an airplane at 20,000 feet above the ground, the song “The Prayer” sung by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion playing on my iPhone takes me back to the All State Arena in Chicago in November of 2013 where Andrea Bocelli was performing.

That night, my Mom, her sister Janet, my Dad, Karen, and I went to the Bocelli concert together. We had purchased the tickets almost 8 months earlier to take my Aunt Mar, my Mom’s sister, to her favorite singer.

From the time we originally got the tickets to the night of the concert, Aunt Mar’s health had weakened. She was battling cancer and in a struggle for her life. Sadly, she was not able to go with us that night.

Being at the concert without her was surreal and at the same time felt like a way of honoring Aunt Mar – being there on her behalf. While she was not physically able to be with us, her spirit was.

A few songs brought tears to my eyes during that concert, specifically “The Prayer” and “Ave Maria.” Scenes of Aunt Mar in my life came to mind – her life; who she was; and her battle with cancer.

Aunt Mar, My Mom, and Aunt Janet

Aunt Mar, My Mom, and Aunt Janet

Memories included being out on the boat with her and Uncle Mike when I was a young kid. The smile on her face as she’d bask in the joy of being out on the water. Her spaghetti. Her laugh. and her deep love of her family.

When the concert was over, we went back to the nursing home where Aunt Mar was sleeping at the time. A month later Aunt Mar passed on.

Upon death, Aunt Mar did not leave us. Memories never allow a person to “leave.” This morning as I travel across the sky, Aunt Mar is with me – thanks to the beauty of music and the memories each song evokes. As scenes of Aunt Mar came to my mind, her sister (Aunt Kay), and her Mom (Grandma) also came forward. Awesome!

May the power of a memory be evoked in each of us through music.

Do you have a story of music touching or moving you? Please share in the Comments section below.

My MOM and why last night was AMAZING.

Jon, my nephew, and his teammates on state championship relay.

Jon, my nephew, and his teammates on the State Championship 200 Medley Relay.

Seeing my nephew, Jon, and his teammates win the first event of the Wisconsin State High School Boys Swimming Championships and then continuing to have sensational swims throughout the meet last night was incredible.

The boys’ dedication to their training and each other paid off – including bringing their school their first ever state champion (and doing so in 2 events)! Especially wonderful was knowing my Mom got to experience the joy of one of her swimmers (4 in this case) becoming a state champion.

Thanks to an amazing group of high school swimmers 17 years ago, I got to experience the joy of coaching a team that won the WI State Championships. AND thanks to my Mom.

Everything I knew about swimming, especially coaching swimming was from my Mom. She taught me about training, challenging athletes, leading with integrity, goal setting, visualization, and soo much more. In many ways, my Mom had a massive influence on our team winning back in 1998. Throughout that season, I could always ask myself, “What would my Mom do?”. She was and has been a constant role model throughout my life.

Mom-2015-WIAA-StateWhile last night was her first state titles as a high school coach, she was partly responsible for helping a team in 1998 win their first state title too. For that very reason, the emotion that hit me last night when the 200 Medley Relay she coaches touched in 1st Place is a moment I will never forget. To feel the fulfillment of seeing your Mom succeed at her life’s greatest passion is priceless. To know that her passion and dedication has and continues to help impact the lives of countless swimmers brings tears of joy to me as I type these words.

And in all this, she is our MOM!!!