Tripping down memory lane

Last night one of the bands Mike used to play in had a gig, their first in two years. I wanted to go, but I wasn’t sure how difficult it might be for me, emotionally. I’d never seen them without Mike. I went back and forth about it all day, until I finally decided to just put on waterproof mascara and face whatever emotions it might stir up.

For the most part, it was a good night. Everyone in the band was happy to see me and, perhaps, a little surprised that I’d come. It was great reconnecting with people I haven’t seen in ages, who had once been a regular part of our social circle. Soon after I arrived, one of the guitarists pulled me aside to tell me he thinks about Mike all the time. They were friends for a long time, so this wasn’t unexpected, but it was still nice to hear. He told me he’d wanted to work up a version of “Wish You Were Here,” which he and some other musician friends played at Mike’s memorial service, to play with the band… but they couldn’t get it together in time for this gig. Maybe next time. I love that idea, but I’m glad I’m forewarned and can come armed with kleenex.

The band was tight and really rocked the packed house. Though I missed Mike’s sax, I was glad that they’d brought in a harmonica player instead of replacing him with another sax player. There were only a couple of songs that were hard to  hear, and my good friend Carlana was there to squeeze my hand and remind me of a funny incident so that I laughed through my tears. So many memories in that place, with that band…

The first time I was ever introduced in public as Mike’s girlfriend.

The first time I met his kids, and spent the whole evening dancing with 11-year-old Aja.

My 40th birthday party, when Mike surprised me by having the band play a song he wrote for me. This picture was taken that night…

I look at it and remember how happy he made me, how very special and cherished I felt that night. I remember how we danced together during all the songs that didn’t feature his sax, and another night when Mike pulled me up onstage to dance with him. That was the night that some random stranger approached us on a set break to say what a cute couple we were. Are you married? she asked. With a big grin, Mike answered, “Tonight we are!”

It was a little trippy to be approached last night by fans of the band, people I didn’t know from Adam, who wanted to tell me how sorry they were to hear about Mike’s passing and to ask if I’m OK. But it’s nice to know that people remember him, even some four years after he left the band. The bandleader (and lead singer) summed it all up with three words, spoken into my ear as he hugged me goodnight: “I miss Mike.”

We all missed him last night. But he was there in spirit, and we all felt it.

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~ by hourbeforedawn on January 16, 2011.

2 Responses to “Tripping down memory lane”

  1. God – Lira you are so amazing! You totally impress me with your willingness to ‘walk through some fire’ to do what you need/want to do. You are very courageous. But I also realize how much you what you do is in honor of Mike & your love. Keep dancing, my dear friend.

  2. Thank you for sharing with us. I need to know Michael as you recall your times together. Gerry and I miss him so much. God bless you!

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