Hello everyone, despite the fact that it’s been several months since I’ve written here. I have to say this is one of the most difficult if not the most difficult entry I have ever written. Not only that I have found myself lacking the enthusiasm to do pretty much anything outside of necessity, which I common for most people dealing with the type of thing I’m about to reveal to you, but not so common for a self motivated, ambitious person.
Usually I will open up a blank page to commit to writing something new and go with it. But, that was over a week ago and here I am. At the beginning of this month I had a death in my family. And not just any family member, I lost my Grandma. Of course no loss of a loved one can be measured In terms of greatness. But it would be more accurate to say that each loss affects us differently depending on what relationship we have with the person that has departed.
Of course we were expecting this at some point in the near future since she was only a few weeks shy of her 93rd birthday. It is still mind blowing and tragic having to come to terms with the fact that someone that has been in your life for your entire life will no longer be. And on top of all of this, I had been scheduled to perform a show with my band for the first time this year on the day of her funeral. Which explains the title of this entry.
As some of you that have a bit of insight into my background and the history of the band, I was not only scheduled to simply show up and perform. This is an event that I have helped coordinate for the past couple of years in hopes of raising money for a reputable charity called Homes For Our Troops . And there was also a long commute to the event. This is basically never been an issue for me to be in charge of most of the scheduling, promotion and transportation to the event. But with the Loss of the matriarch of my family the stress and the burden of this event weighed heavily on me. And I was given very little if any relief from my peers. I’m being very vague here, only glancing over this as to not focus on negativity or animosity. Or to make this seem like an outlet for me to Badmouth anyone, but as they say when it walks like a duck, you know? And I’m also used to the fact that a death reveals many people’s true nature. Having seen family members disregard dying wishes, or just making everything about them and not the person they lost.
So this obviously created a much more stressful situation to perform in. However, I know my Grandmother would never want me to not do something I love because of losing her. Especially being a lifelong supporter of our troops as her father served in World War I (see my entry from 3/17/21 called Holy Ireland and my Uncle is a Marine and since she what is very instrumental in the “Toys for Tots” drive in our hometown. She is one of the people that taught me to work hard and to not give up. She did credit my mother for instilling that in me, but my Mother obviously learned it from my grandmother. Having worked from a very young age add several difficult jobs including as a waitress and one of (if not the first) Woman to drive a forklift as a single Mother in the 70’s. She also taught me to never be afraid to express myself, no matter who it offends. “I just open my mouth, and the words come out!” Something She said after She was asked “how could you say such a thing?” and She would always have a way of bringing up even you were feeling down. She would remind of how highly people would speak of me to her. I made sure as her first Grandchild that everyone in attendance at her services knew exactly how I felt and how far She had come in life being only 2nd generation Irish-American and passing on all that She did to us. I recited this prayer before after the Priest gave his eulogy :
I would like to point out that I am very appreciative of all of the people that expressed their condolences. Both through social media and in person. I was reminded why I have been crazy enough to continue to perform with very little if any monetary compensation over the years. Yes the music industry is plagued with many selfish and low class people, but there are a lot of people who are kind, caring and generous. Many artists are put off by the notion of sharing any of the knowledge they have obtained or resources. In fear that it will take away from their success. That was not the case with the bands that performed at Bravofest on July 9th. Especially one of the most successful bands on the bill, Sepsiss. I highly recommend that you go and check them out on Facebook or other social media to see what I mean for yourself.
At this point, I have realize that the obstacles that we face in doing things that we are passionate about or only a test to see how far we will take our passion. The phrase “it’s not worth it” was thrown around many times throughout my career as a musician if you will. But I did come to a realization during the stressful commute last year heading up to Bravofest. If the young Men & Women We are helping to raise money for can leave their surroundings and families to defend our country with the possibility of losing life and limb, most of our daily obstacles and stress are minuscule in comparison. This was simply yet another test, and eye opener if you will to seeing who wanted this the most. This opened up a floodgate for me of support and unfortunately some more stress and selfishness. Luckily I anticipated issues early on and some true friends had come through for me. I had arrived at the spot where I was supposed to meet my band and their spirits were low and they doubted whether it was worth it or not to head up there at such a late hour to head up there at such a late hour. I was given a few minutes to myself and to my bandmates surprise, I basically loaded my vehicle up with most of the equipment as to simply say OK let’s go!
I knew I would never forgive myself if I let these emotions and obstacles get in my way. The stress of having to do a large portion of the work by myself did impact our performance (and not bc we had a last minute replacement in the lineup) But we threw caution to the wind and gained the respect of our peers, the audience and most importantly ourselves. At many times I feel as if I have failed because of all the crap I’ve dealt with getting short changed by bandmates, other bands, promoters etc. But someone once told me “You’re only a failure if you failed”. And if decided to accept my circumstances and not give up than I would really feel like a failure. We live in a time where we are conditioned to except circumstances and not question anything being spoon-fed to us. To simply settle and ignore anything that may be difficult or unpleasant. And also turn our backs on anyone who isn’t complying. But the saying “the Show must go on”, is from a different time. A much more difficult time to live in let alone perform in. I believe it goes back to Shakespeare. And I am very grateful that it stood the test of time. And of course it Inspired Queen to write a song of the same name when Freddy Mercury was becoming fatally ill.
Thank you all for reading this, I hope like my Grandma, and other great I have mentioned, that one day you’ll look back and say that I inspired you. That’s worth all the success in the world.
Thank you once stein for reading this passage in Loving Memory of my Grandma,Rose Considine Schullein ❤