Friday, November 21, 2014

Choir Practice

Last night Joe headed out, right after supper, to choir practise. When we lived in Quebec Joe was a member of the choir at St. Paul's United Church. It was a big part of his life and he enjoyed both the practises and the performances. When we moved to Toronto, with the travel that we do, and, I hate to admit, with the extra support that I need, he has been unable to join a choir as a regular member.

As it happens, Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, which has an amazing choir, on occasion needs extra voices and asks for volunteers to come forward. Joe did this last summer and is doing it again this year for the first Advent Sunday service. So, off to choir practise he went.

We're comfortable enough to make jokes about this kind of thing, just before he left, I said to him, "Are you comfortable with leaving a cripple at home with all the sharps and matches laying around?" Joe, which will not surprise anyone who knows him, fell against the door laughing. And then headed out, I could hear him giggling down the hallway.

I was so pleased that Joe was doing this. I know he loves it. For me, too, it was nice to be home and secure, disability and all, alone. We've arranged the apartment such that it is as accessible as it is possible for a non-accessible apartment to be. We know my needs and routines and everything was taken care of before Joe left.

I got time alone.

Joe got time with others.

I was in bed when he came home, but my light was on and I was reading. Joe came in to chat with me, telling me about the choir and the songs and the fact that they were attempting four part harmony. I don't know what that means but it sounds hard. It didn't matter what he said, it mattered that his voice was still full of the enjoyment of being in the choir and participating in something he loves.

Disability changed my life.

But disability changed Joe's life too.

Last night, as I thought about it, I realized - yes disability changed our lives, but as we progress as we learn how to be in the world our our new(ish) normal. It's changed our life less and less.

2 comments:

Ron Arnold said...

Four part harmony - Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass. I sing tenor. No fun. It's all the notes no one else wants. Most of the time - they don't even go together logically.

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

I can only do 4 part harmony because I'm a soprano, and we USUALLY get the melody. My brain has a very hard time when we have a section where they want us to sing something else at Sunday Mass.

Singing is glorious - if you like doing it. Joe should be all aglow - maybe he can find some other places to sing? Closer, less frequent? Encourage him to try.

When my able-bodied husband goes on a 20 mile bike ride with a friend, he goes with every speck of encouragement I can give him - and he's not even a caretaker. People need to replenish their souls, and no two people can be everything to each other.

Besides, I trust you were still alive when he came home.