Monday, July 24, 2017

Jamming with the cousins, even departed ones

THIS IS A story about family, and therapy, and seeing a long-lost loved one. It's all good, believe me.

My cousin, Esther Hart, passed away from cancer at a very young age some years ago. She left a beautiful daughter, Sophie. Esther was one of my favorites - spunky, opinionated and passionate. We gave my daughter, Emily, the middle name of Esther because we loved the name and we loved Esther.

Sophie still lives in Toronto and stays in touch with her crazy Hart family. She visits every summer and hangs out in Grand Rapids and Zeeland. Sheryl and I made the long trip to Holland this past weekend and stayed with my Uncle Peter, who lives on Lake Michigan. Angus came with us and had a blast jumping in the lake and swimming in a nearby creek.

Emily was with us and finally got to meet the famous second cousin she is named after. She and Sophie got along famously.

Sophie, 13, is very close to her cousins Ellie and Hannah. Sophie and Hannah both play guitar. So Saturday night, as is our custom and tradition, we joined Roland (Ellie's dad) and had a jam session. I said, "What songs can you play?" They said, "We don't know very many." Right. About two hours later we were still jamming and hooting and hollering.

Near the end of the night, Sophie said, "Play that song that goes, 'Tell me, tell me, tell me!" She was referring to "Do You Love Me" by The Contours, of course. It's a Cheeseburger staple. So here we were, working it out baby and doing the mashed potato, and Sophie stood up and started jumping around. You know her Uncle Rotknee wasn't going to let her do that by herself. Angus even joined in fun. You can watch the video here.

And for a second, just a second, I saw her mother, my cousin Esther, standing right there in the room, laughing and jumping up and down with us.

The power of music is a mysterious thing. I cannot explain why I saw Esther in the room. I just did. Music and little bit of soul, perhaps, summoned her. With Sophie there, I felt Esther's spirit a lot Saturday, and it made me smile.

Thank you to Peter and Helen for hosting us, and to Sophie and Hannah and Roland for the amazing jam session and to everybody else for a great day on the beach. It was hard to leave. It's always hard to leave.

So we promise to do it again, make more memories, and see long lost loved ones again, if even for just a second.

Roland, Sophie, Hannah and RotKnee

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