Brahms, Death, and just being there

Readers, I lost someone dear to us tonight. I’ll write a tribute later. For now, I’ll bring up a piece of wisdom from a past post.

A long time ago, when I was young and studying piano, I was struggling to play Brahms. I could play the notes, it sounded nice, but my performance was lacking in the emotion and the intensity that makes Brahms’ works the dramatic pieces that they are.
My teacher stopped and thought. Then she told me:

I once had trouble playing Brahms. I couldn’t express it properly, and I didn’t know why. I didn’t know what was missing. I never knew what to say at funerals, either.
Then my husband died. And I realized what I had never known; that there was nothing anyone can say at funerals. All you can do is be there; and being there is the most important thing of all.
And then, then I could play Brahms.

Well, I stuck to Debussy and Chopin for a long time. But I know now; even if there is nothing to say, no way to help the grieving, it’s important to be there.

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