I’m home for the weekend and the beginning of next week then I’m out of town again Thursday through Sunday.

I feel like the past three weeks have lasted for a year. First it was my trip to ND to see my grandfather for the last time. Then I performed in Chicago and Utah. Then right back to ND for my grandfather’s funeral. Ever since I got married I have wondered when I will feel like an adult. I think I reached another of those milestones this past month. Seeing my father cry made me feel very old. He cries all the time, but it’s always for good things like recitals, graduations, and weddings. But to see him hurting and vulnerable was hard…really hard. When I realized that I was there to support him for once (rather than him always supporting me) that’s when I felt like an adult. It made me care about him in a new way.

To finish reporting on my Chicago trip: it was empoweringly awesome (I don’t think empoweringly is even a word, but you know what I mean). Navigating my way around in my car and spending the afternoon alone just sightseeing were two of my proudest achievements of the past month. The masterclass was awesome, and the webcast went very well.

I parked my car on the street near my friend’s apartment and caught a ride to the airport with her Thursday morning very early. She watched my car for me while I was gone. She actually didn’t even have to move it or anything. It was parked in front of a new building and they hadn’t zoned the parking yet.

I landed in Salt Lake City around noon on Thursday and immediately went to a bridal shop with my mom and sister. We spent 4 hours there, but found the perfect wedding dress for her, a dress for my mom, and the bridesmaid dress for me. After I had been relieved of $300 we drove to the smaller town in which my sister lives. We had dinner and then my sister and I had to rehearse with our pianist for the recital.

That night we got back from rehearsal pretty late. It was about 11:00 local time. My sister dropped me off at the hotel room I was sharing with my mom. I sat up chatting online with my husband for a little before getting ready for bed. My mom was still up when I got there. She just couldn’t sleep. Then her cell phone rang. It was my dad. I instantly knew it couldn’t be good news. He told us that my grandfather passed away shortly after midnight central time.

We knew he didn’t have much longer, but it still hurt to hear it. After my mom and I called my brother and my sister to tell them the news it hit me. I had to perform a recital on Saturday including a piece about death. The piece I’m writing my dissertation on. A piece of music written by a man dying of lung cancer. My grandpa couldn’t breathe as he lay dying either. I was ok until I realized the implications of this piece for me now. That was the first time I cried.

I made the decision to stay and do the recital. I needed to complete it because it just felt like the right thing to do. My sister and I dedicated the recital to him (she performed with me on one piece). The recital went pretty well considering my mindset. I wasn’t emotionally present on the first piece, but the second piece and the last piece were all emotions. It was very raw, but that’s how I was feeling at the time. We recorded the recital, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to listen to it. I cried all the way through the piece I mentioned before. The piece ends peacefully after travelling through hell to get there. I barely finished the last note before my hand was shaking so badly I would have had to stop playing. I’ve never given a more powerful performance.