Friday January 31 2020

Waking up at 11:37 a.m.


Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


Taking care of business. Running errands.


Talking with a lady at Chartway about closing mom’s account there. Apparently, her account was already closed. Turns out the lady’s mom also passed from cancer. We get into a conversation about how strange it is that so many people die from cancer.


Grilled PB&J Bagel. Plantain Chips. Coffee.


Teaching in-home lessons for the first time in a few months! They are glad to see me. Anna, especially has developed a huge drive for music, writing her own songs and learning stuff on her own.


For dinner Ana and I go to Simple Eats off Shore Drive. I enjoy a Chicken n Dumpling thing with Biscuits and Green Beans. Ana isn’t 100% satisfied but she’s a trooper.


Later on, we play music at the studio focusing on original songs.


Corn Tortilla Chips.



Sleep 4 a.m.

Thursday January 30 2020


Waking up around 11:30 a.m.


Date and Almond Bar. English Breakfast Tea.


Ana and I go to the legendary DMV down the street, a place you don’t need to visit frequently but when you do you enter a time void. She forgot some documents she needs so has to walk back home and come back separately. I stick around for over an hour and a half to transfer my mom’s truck title into my name.


Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Butter and Jam. Salt n Vinegar Chips with Avocado. Coffee.


Teaching lessons at Music Makers.



Ana cooked a big pot of Vegan Bean Chili with Cornbread. It’s very delicious.


At the storage unit with the Ladada boys writing songs.





Sleep 4 a.m.

Wednesday January 29 2020

Waking up at 11 a.m.


Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


Ana and I go to the gym together at Princess Anne Rec. I play basketball while she runs.


Picking up my car from the shop – had to get an oil change and other minor things.


Scrambled Eggs. Sourdough Toast with Butter and Jam. Spinach. Alfalfa Sprouts. Coffee.

Watching Edge of Darkness (2010).


Teaching lessons at Music Makers.


Back home. Having leftover Spaghetti with Your Pie Pizza.


Power napping in my computer chair.


Taking care of chores while Ana bakes some cookies. Also, making a turmeric/ginger thing.



Playing a few rounds of Unreal.


Sleep 4 a.m.

Tuesday January 28 2020


Waking up at 11:30 a.m.


Bowl of Cereal with Strawberries and Almond Milk.


Catching up on business. Running errands – replacing the wiper blades in mom’s truck – grocery run.


Scrambled Eggs. Spinach. Sourdough Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese. Coffee.


Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

During one of my piano lessons I discover a great music teacher joke:

“What do you call an underage chord?”

“A minor!”


Back home. Making dinner for Ana and I: Smoked Salmon with Peas, Onions, Peppers, Kale, Carrots, and Quinoa.


Later on, at the studio playing music with Ana. We always have intense moments of self reflection and discussion on bettering ourselves at our instruments.





Sleep 4 a.m.

Monday January 27 2020

Waking up at 11 a.m.


Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


Basketball at the Rec.

In light of Kobe Bryant’s death yesterday Stephen, the kid who’s always shouting and wanting to be called “Kobe!” or “KD!”, is there and has lot of energy. He pauses for 24 seconds to honor him and goes on a rampage on the court shooting the ball. The rest of the guys encourage it.


Orange Juice with Turmeric. Scrambled Eggs. Buttermilk Biscuits with Butter and Jam. Coffee.

Watching Midsommar (2019).


Teaching lessons at Music Makers.


Home. Cooking Vegan Burgers Ana picked up at Trader Joe’s. Having them with Five Guys Fries and Bok Choy.


Doing various things – catching up on business.


Chilling with Ana and the cat. She takes me to drop off my car overnight.


At the studio playing piano and such.



Sleep 4 a.m.

Sunday January 26 2020

Waking up at 11:13 a.m.


Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


MMLIVE rehearsals all afternoon.


Panera lunch break in between: Tuna Salad Sandwich with Tomato Soup and Coffee.


Back home. Taking care of cleaning and chores. Napping.


Nawab leftovers for dinner.

Watching The Good Liar (2019).


Later on at Music Makers. Cleaning the black hardwood floors. Practicing drums.



Chilling with Ana in the bedroom. Playing a few rounds of Unreal then cuddling with her – with our warm bodies tucked under the covers I feel an urge to make fire.


Sleep 4:20 a.m.

Saturday January 25 2020

Waking up at 11:08 a.m.


Date and Almond Breakfast Bar. Irish Breakfast Tea.


Teaching afternoon lessons at Music Makers. Still weird not having mom here, especially on Saturdays cause it was always low key – she’d be vacuuming or cleaning – and of course having lovely conversations with people.


Scrambled Eggs. Buttermilk Biscuits with Butter and Jam. Coffee.


Catching up on business.


Cleaning more of the bathroom.


Taking care of lots of laundry.


Running errands.


Cooking dinner for Ana and I: Brown Rice Quinoa Spaghetti Noodles with Mushrooms, Onions, Peppers, Tomatoes, Kale, and a Baguette. Sharing glasses from a bottle of Red Wine that my mom bought us a while back.

Having a movie night watching The Shining (1980) in it’s entirety.



Sleep 4 a.m.

Friday January 24 2020


Waking up around noon.


Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


Errands – settling mom’s bank accounts and depositing some money – getting new wiper blades and buying a new fire extinguisher for Music Makers.


Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Butter and Jam. Coffee.

Watching The Two Popes (2019).


Cleaning the bathroom, mainly the tub and shower walls, which are redundantly annoying to clean all the time.


Ana gets off work. We put on some accidentally matching clothes and grab dinner at Nawab. Enjoying Butter Chicken with Veggies, Basmati Rice, Garlic Naan Bread, and Samosas. We can’t not get Gelato next door either.



Later on, playing music at Music Makers. We’re not really worried about practicing sets or anything, just learning new songs and having fun. Later, enjoying some love time.



Sleep 4 a.m.

Thursday January 23 2020

Waking up at 11:30 a.m.


Cereal. English Breakfast Tea.


Ana’s mom is here cleaning areas in the kitchen.


I run some errands while Ana bakes a cake for Wanda.


Scrambled Eggs. Spinach. Toast with Butter and Jam. Coffee.


Teaching lessons at Music Makers.


Ana pre-made a dinner for me to bake in the oven with Tomatoes, Chic Peas, Zucchini, Onions, and Quinoa. I have a big plate of it with Sourdough Toast.

Watching The Two Popes (2019).


At Ladada practice with the boys. Continuing to write and work on new songs.

Thanks for your time and talent,” is the recurring phrase of the night.



Playing a few rounds of Unreal.


Sleep 4 a.m.

Wednesday January 22 2020

Waking up at 11 a.m.


Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Strawberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


Basketball at the Rec. On a team with a bunch of little guys but we manage through it knocking down 3’s and making lay-ups.


Scrambled Eggs. Bagel with Butter and Jam. Potato Chips. Coffee.


Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

One of my teen piano students, Bianca, as soon as she walked in I could sense something was wrong. She kept saying she was tired but it was apparent something else was bothering her. She opens up and starts crying. She describes past situations with abuse and how it makes her uncomfortable in school to be around certain guys. We barely touched the piano but instead I became a counselor for the day. Sometimes I forget how much these kids go through.


Eating a Your Pie Pizza with Cucumbers and Gelato.

Watching Terminator: Dark Fate (2019).


Cleaning up the dishes and the kitchen.


Going through mom’s bills and hospital things in the living room. Trashing most things that aren’t necessary to hold onto. I discover a rugged journal she wrote prayers and thoughts in from 2008. Found a little handwritten thing that says, “I Love You Robert – Mom” with the O letters replaced with hearts. It’s like a little message she wrote for me to see in the future.



Playing a few rounds of Unreal on the computer.


Sleep 4 a.m.

Tuesday January 21 2020

Waking up at 11:13 a.m.


Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Strawberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


Running errands – handling mom’s affairs of closing bank accounts and paying off a bill.


Scrambled Eggs. Blueberry Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Shortbread Cookies. Coffee.


Teaching lessons at Music Makers.


Ana made dinner: Falafels with Veggies and Sweet Potato Fries.


We go to Soul Haven Studios to work with Nigel and John on a few tweaks for ELO recordings.


At home taking care of ourselves and chatting about the future.



Sleep 3:30 a.m.

Monday January 20 2020

Waking up right at 11:13 a.m. two minutes before my alarm’s supposed to go off. I had an in depth dream about new years eve.


I’m in New York City. It’s understood I’m near Times Square where the ball is about to drop for 2020. In a busy stairwell inside a building. I had just come out of work or something. I spot a cleaning bag my mom used to use all the time sitting on the shelf. I notice a long piece of paper with instructions on how to use whatever cleaning equipment that’s in there. It’s obviously her handwriting with the almost cursive consistent print in pen. Elliott appears in one of his goofy jumpsuits – no shirt on nor do I. People poke fun at the scene we’re making standing there pretending to move things around on the shelf. At some point I feel an urgency to run outside and meet up with Ana down the block. There’s so many people everywhere cause of new years. I shove my way through to a stage where the New World Record ELO band is supposed to play but it’s unclear. Nigel and Kevin are here standing on the stage. Later on, I’m inside an apartment – different storyline. A girl is acting hostile towards me refusing to pay me something I’m owed. She has some kind of sharp nail pick and a wire with intent on hurting or killing me. We rumble in the dining room. She pretends to choke herself with the wire. I take control of it and pull hard so as to restrain her from doing anything else.

“I’m gonna let you breathe now,” I say. “I’m not gonna kill you.”

I let up and she immediately hands me a bowl of what’s understood to belong to me. There’s Lindt chocolates and quarters inside.

“Wait, are you serious? There’s like $4 worth of quarters in here!”

While lying on a chair she pulls out a wad of cash. It seems like the whole thing isn’t about the money but the principal of the matter. I go on a rant to her about how she’s never learned to love or trust anyone.

“You haven’t had a lot of good things in your life. But you gotta keep looking for the good people and surround yourself with them. They’re out there. I promise!”



Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Strawberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


Catching up on business and scheduling.




Tempeh Bacon. Sourdough Toast with Butter and Jam. Potato Chips. Coffee.


Teaching lessons at Music Makers. I’ve got Jordan, one of our guitar teachers, running the front desk today. Starting this week I’m gonna hire him and others to help do that job.


Jackfruit BBQ Sandwich with Egg, Lettuce, and Roasted Broccoli, Carrots, and Onions.


Short Bohemian Rhapsody practice at the rehearsal spot with Anne, John, and a few others. We’ll be performing this song at the Veer Music Awards coming up in February.


Later on back at the house. Ana baked the most delicious Vegan Brownies yet! I pop some popcorn to go with.


Doing some tax prep. Yay! Tax season here we go!


Sunday January 19 2020

Waking up at 11:15 a.m.


Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Strawberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


Today’s the first day back for Music Makers LIVE winter session. At the rehearsal spot – we got three bands this time. I play drums in the adult band. Anne, Lisa, and Devon help out throughout the afternoon. I take a break for the second band then come back for the third.


Scrambled Eggs. Sourdough Toast with Butter and Jam. Potato Chips. Coffee.


Organizing stuff at the studio.


I’m not doing well mentally today...” she texts me later in the night.

I respond with a Bitmoji saying “Same

Just thinking about mom and I miss her – just the realization that she isn’t physically and tangibly here anymore hits me deep in the heart.


Chinese food from Jade Garden for dinner: Tofu with Mixed Vegetables and Garlic Sauce.

Watching Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (2020).


Catching up on business and chores.


Meanwhile, when Ana gets off work at midnight we congregate in the living room eating leftover pastries and watching the British baking show.



Sleep 3:30 a.m.

Saturday January 18 2020


Waking up around noon.


Bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (Cascadian Farms version) with Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


At Music Makers doing a few afternoon lessons.


Scrambled Eggs. Sourdough Toast with Butter and Jam. Coffee.


Organizing and prepping things.


At the rehearsal spot setting up for MMLIVE, which starts tomorrow.


Then, at Abbey Road Pub for the Musicplayer gig, our second night in a row here. A new set of friends come out to see us: Ana’s mom and brothers, Elliott and friends, Megan and her parents, etc.


We always seem to impress at least one couple at the restaurant that’s never heard us before. She compliments my voice saying something like you sing that Billy Joel song better than Billy Joel. I don’t know what to say to that. I just thank her. We ended up doing an unrehearsed “Hallelujah” upon their request with Ana and Megan on the mic. We get Ryan up on the drums for “Psycho Killer” then Elliott on the drums for “Satisfaction”. Mike and Kelly show up too. It was another fun night of music with friends.



After Ana and I transport all the gear we meet up with some of the group at Rick’s Café. I don’t even remember the last time I stepped foot in here. Many late night memories here.


Back home. Finally decompressing.


Friday January 17 2020


Waking up super late this morning at 12:30 p.m.


Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


Catching up on business.


At the studio packing up all the music gear.


Tempeh Bacon with Spinach and Sourdough Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese. Coffee.




Revving up mom’s truck and packing all the gear inside. Got a gig at Abbey Road Pub tonight. Setting everything up. A nice old black man who’s giving away candy to everybody offers to help bring in a few things.


Starting off the night with a set of my own songs. Then Anthony comes up to sing. We’re splitting the bill tonight. While sitting with Ana and Tristan and listening to Anthony and Allyson belt out Lazy Danger tunes I’m reminded what it’d be like if mom were sitting with us in the seat over from me. She’d be thoroughly enjoying herself clapping and dancing. She always loved Anthony’s music.



It’s a fun time with music and friends. The regulars at the bar don’t seem to mind our joyous ruckus. Tristan even gets up on the bass and joins the band.


Afterwards, we don’t need to pack up anything cause we’ll be back here tomorrow night!


Back home. Hanging out in the dining room with Anthony, Allyson, and Ana eating snacks and talking.



Later on settling down in my bed with Ana. We make fire in celebration of life, music, and happiness.

Thursday January 16 2020

Waking up at 11:30 a.m.


Bowl of Granola Cereal with Almond Milk, Blueberries, and Strawberries. English Breakfast Tea.


Catching up on business.




Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Butter and Jam. Potato Chips. Coffee.


Teaching lessons at Music Makers.


Back home. Making dinner: Vegan Burgers with Lettuce and Tomato. Roasted Green Beans, Zucchini, and Onions. Corn Tortilla Chips.

Watching A Dark Place (2018).


Hanging out with Josiah, Jonnie, and Bobby at the storage unit practicing new Ladada songs. We haven’t linked up since the new year so it’s nice.



Sleep 4:30 a.m.

Wednesday January 15 2020


Waking up at 10:45 a.m.


Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


Basketball at the Rec. It’s been a long time – feels good to be running up and down the courts burning calories and shooting hoops.


Scrambled Eggs. Sourdough Toast with Butter and Jam. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Baby Broccoli. Coffee.


Teaching lessons at Music Makers.


Back home. Making a quick dinner: Vegetable Fried Rice with Peas.

Watching Earthquake Bird (2019).


Running a late night errand to Target. I was the official last customer of the night.


At the studio practicing songs with Ana.



Sleep 3:30 a.m.

Tuesday January 14 2020

Waking up throughout the morning from stressful dreams – sweaty legs.


Date and Almond Bar. English Breakfast Tea.


It’s raining hard outside – not the brightest of mornings. Seeing the dentist for a cleaning and to check on one of my fillings I got a few months back.




Scrambled Eggs. Sourdough Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Coffee.

Watching Earthquake Bird (2019).


Teaching lessons at Music Makers.


Back home. One of our student’s mom’s got Ana and I dinner from The Green Cat: Lentil Soup with Brown Rice. Ana brought home a French Baguette to go with. Anthony joins us in the dining room discussing the latest Veer Music Award nominees. Ladada was mentioned in multiple categories.


Later on, at the studio practicing songs with Ana.



Sleep 3 a.m.

Monday January 13 2020

Waking up at 11:30 a.m.


Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


Taking care of bank things and mom things – calling life insurance, etc.


Scrambled Eggs. Sourdough Toast with Butter and Jam. Potato Chips. Spinach. Coffee.


At Music Makers teaching a normal full day of lessons. Kay holds it down at the front desk.


Back home. Making dinner for myself: Salmon with Baby Broccoli, Carrots, and Macaroni Salad.

Watching QT8: The First Eight (2019).


Later on, at Music Makers with Ana practicing songs – getting back into the grind for our gigs this weekend.



Sleep 3:30 a.m.

Sunday January 12 2020

Waking up late around 11:45 a.m.


Ana made us Blueberry Waffles. I brew some Tea to go with. She tweaked the recipe a little and she is disappointed with the outcome but it was only because we didn’t have almond milk.


I’ve got the entire day off. Just gonna catch up on business and whatever else I need to take care of.


Ana and I run grocery errands.


Deviled Eggs, Spinach, Sourdough Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese. Potato Salad, and Coffee.

Watching From Paris with Love (2010).


Posting some stuff about mom thanking everyone for their support.


Organizing MMLIVE things that start next weekend.


At Music Makers fixing up a place for mom’s remains using the flower arrangement from the memorial service. I want all the students and families to see it for a week. Then, I’ll prepare a small memorial thing at the studio so everyone is reminded of her impact.


Leftover Chicken with Kale and Mac n’ Cheese.


Chillin’ with Ana.


Back at the studio playing the piano.



Sleep 4 a.m.

Saturday January 11 2020


Waking up at 11 a.m.


Enjoying some of Ana’s homemade Cinnamon Rolls and Coffee for breakfast.


At Freedom Fellowship. Today is the big day for my mom. We fill up the sanctuary, packed all the way to the back door, and celebrate her life and memory! I sit next to Ana, my dad, aunt Pansy, Peter, and nearby is John and Cindy (two best friends of my mom and dad’s), Jimmy Carr, Jimmy Napier, Wanda, Karen Glaze, etc. I worked with Pastor Rick to design a structure to the service but he really brought it all home for the congregation. So much music and celebration. You could really feel the consolation and peace in the room. I put together a slideshow of pictures of mom all the way from baby pics to the last moments of her life. I placed an old recording of her singing with her dad when she was 16 at the beginning of it – it brings tears to my eyes almost immediately. Dan plays Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata on the piano for the rest of the video.


Pastor speaks in such a down to earth fashion it makes everyone feel at home and like we can really understand the truth behind the message.


Don’t let your heart be troubled...

Karen was sick. And she never lost hope. And so what I want you to know is that Karen is now with the Lord Jesus!


I came up with ten words that described my mom and who she was to many...












I wrote a eulogy that Pastor reads perfectly. At some point I get up on the stage with a guitar to lead the Music Makers students in a few songs. “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” and House of the Rising SunAmazing Grace”. Wesley accompanies me on keys adding organ and piano. The whole performance is exactly what mom would’ve wanted to hear. She loved the students at Music Makers like her own children.


A Son’s Tribute


Where do I start? We had a special mom and son relationship. Not all sons can say this about their moms but I know I can say beyond a doubt that I had the best mother any son could hope for. You protected and nurtured me since day one. Cooked the best meals. Wrote the best cards. Sang the most beautiful songs. Told the best advice. Prayed the best prayers. Gave the best back and head rubs. You made a beautiful life for me filled with so many wonderful memories. Remembering all those extra long hugs you used to give me when saying good night, the kind I couldn’t escape from.

Goodnight son. I love you.

Love you too, mom.

I wish I was there now in your embrace.


You are the most important link to my past. I’ll always feel like there are more questions to ask. You comforted me through hard and traumatic times. You lost a daughter; I lost a sister. Because of you I am stronger. I am the man I am because of you. There was a season where you had to turn “single mom mode” on, working all kinds of odd jobs to keep the bills paid. I was grateful though to still have a father as well as a stepdad who supported us all the way through. Don’t ever think you did anything wrong when you were raising me. A child will bloom into their own, and when there’s an unconditional love surrounding them every day, they’ll become who they’re destined to be. You’ve always taught me to have compassion, listen to people, and to care for others. Some of your last words you spoke, “Be ready and love people!” That’s exactly what you did your whole life is love people, the embodiment of who Jesus is.


You always had a way of keeping things neat and orderly in the house. Thank you for doing so many things, big and small, for me, for us. Many times I remember coming home from a long day of work or rehearsals and the kitchen would be clean and the dishes were done. Who’s gonna do the dishes now? Don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything. I know you’re proud of me cause you never stopped talking about me to everyone. Every show I performed you made great efforts to be there right in the front clapping, dancing, or singing along.

Mom is your number one fan,” you always said.


One place you absolutely loved to be was at Music Makers. When I took over the business you were there ready to help build a community of parents and students that became like a second family to us. Anyone who walked through the front door of the studio immediately felt like home because of all the love and light you offered. You genuinely cared about each and every one of our student’s future. Your love is embedded in those walls and lesson rooms. I think you deserve employee of the month...forever.


I’m so grateful God gave you the opportunity to see so many friends and family before you passed on. Life is precious. Your love is precious to me. It haunts me every day the fact that you’re not gonna be around in my life. For one thing, I want any children I have some day to know how beautiful and wonderful their grandmother is. But like I said at the hospice bed, when I get a house “I’m gonna plant a tree for you. So I can show your grandchildren what a beautiful person you were.”


Mom, there are so many things I want you to know and so many things I wanna say. Words, of course, aren’t usually enough to explain. A friend of mine said, “Music transcends the tangible world. It guides and heals us – while giving us strength to carry on.” Music is how we celebrate your life. I hope you can hear the echoes of the melodies we play for you down here on earth. You live on in our hearts as you watch from your new life above in the stellar skies of the heavens.



Afterwards, Ana and I, along with family members we wait in the front row as people line up the aisle to give their condolences and many hugs. I probably received about 500 hugs today. It’s a little overwhelming at times but good to know there’s so much support from all the people who were impacted by my mom. There’s plenty of food to share! We all just stay right in the sanctuary and eat.


Back home. Ana and I go through the sympathy cards. Frank Mihlon spearheaded a fundraiser online that brought in well over the amount that was asked. Later on, dad comes over and we hang out in the living room. I set up mom’s urn, flower arrangement, and picture in there.



Later on, Ana and I lounge in the living room and watch a movie over leftovers. Marriage Story (2019).


Staying bonded with her the rest of the night. Making fire up in her bedroom, something we haven’t done in a long time, especially since all of this stuff began with mom.


Friday January 10 2020


Waking up at 11:37 a.m.


Jimmy, my former stepdad, is in town. Ana and I take him to Three Ships for Biscuits and Coffee. He’ll always be family to me.


Him and I run some errands. At Virginia Beach Florist in Kempsville ordering a cradling floral arrangement to go around the urn for the service tomorrow. Then, driving over to the Cremation Society to pick up mom’s remains and the death certificates. It’s kind of strange transporting her in a different form in the backseat.


Running an errand to drop off recycle but I discover they took away the recycle dumpsters so now there’s nowhere to recycle anymore. 2020 is really bringing on the changes.


Stopping by Outback Steakhouse to say hi to Jimmy’s aunt and uncle, Ann and Karl.


At Music Makers we rehearse with a select few students to help sing a few songs at mom’s service tomorrow. It’s kind of fun. Ana and her friend Erica are here also helping sing. Meanwhile, Jimmy and dad sit nearby.


Afterwards, we grab some dinner at Pho 79, just Ana, Erica, dad, and I. Trying out Fried Quail with Vegetable Pad Thai Noodles.


Back home. Ana and Erica bake up a storm in the kitchen. Kenny comes over, Erica’s recently acquired boy friend and also friend of mine through Elliott. Him and I hang in the living room and share stories of our moms. I never knew his mom also battled cancer and died this past year.


Later on, I sort through baskets and drawers in my mom’s room throwing away some things and putting some in a donation bag. I always come across little notes that my mom wrote. It feels like she’s still here.



Settling down in the bed with Ana.

Thursday January 9 2020

Waking up at 11:20 a.m.


Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Oat Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


Catching up on business.


Meeting with Pastor Rick and Diana at the church to discuss the memorial service. It’s always so comforting to talk to Rick. His job is to love people and he’s so genuine, just like my mother was. I give him a flash drive with all the notes and eulogy I wrote.


Scrambled Eggs. Bagel with Butter and Jam. Potato Chips. Coffee.


At Music Makers teaching lessons. Lou is here helping collect payments and such.


Off work and back home. Ana started cooking dinner. One of the burners isn’t working properly, not surprised. I help finish the job. Enjoying Tofu Stir Fry with Quinoa and Vegetables.


Grabbing some gelato from down the street.


Taking care of stuff. Organizing. Chores.


Chamomile Tea.



Ana reminds me that we were supposed to pray together every night. Both of us still feeling like we need guidance but have plenty of peace.


Sleep 4 a.m.

Wednesday January 8 2020

Waking up at 11 a.m.


Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


Catching up on business.


Ana and I enjoy burning calories at the Great Neck Rec for a little bit. Haven’t exercised in a few weeks and we really needed it.


Scrambled Eggs. Blueberry Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Coffee.


At Music Makers teaching lessons and running the front desk. Everybody knows what happened to my mom at this point. Some ask how I’m doing but most just acknowledge condolences. Accumulating quite a collection of sympathy cards and notes from students.


Back home. Warming up dinner: Tomato Soup with Peas, Kale, Quinoa, and French Baguette.

Watching The Kid (2019).


Finishing up this memorial service preparation.


Chilling downstairs with Ana, a guitar, and the cat.



Sleep next to Ana around 3:30 a.m.

Tuesday January 7 2020


Waking up at around 11 a.m.


Date and Almond Bar. English Breakfast Tea.


Taking care of Music Makers business and scheduling. Not gonna teach yet cause there’s still so much to organize and do.


Running errands. Cleaning up the Christmas decorations at the studio.


Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Butter and Jam. Snow Peas. Coffee.

Watching The Kid (2019).


Meanwhile, a rain storm came through and afterwards I see a post from one of our students, Olivia. She took a picture of a rainbow that shone near Music Makers and said, “Ms. Karen came to visit Music Makers in the form of a rainbow!

So fitting. I see it as a sign from God that even with mom not here he is still watching over us.


I keep working on this slideshow of mom. It takes a lot of time.


Earlier today Frank Mihlon, a parent of two of our students and doctor who kept close watch on my mom’s cancer battle, put up a fundraiser thing on Facebook to raise $2,000 to help costs of the funeral/cremation and so forth. Before nighttime even hits people donated way more than expected. It’s not even about the money. It’s just the outpouring of love and support that feels so awesome.


Later on, Ana arrives home with a dinner idea: Fresh Tomato Soup with Peas, Kale, and a Baguette. We work together to get the meal done. Watching a Prank Encounters episode together.


I decide to pack Christmas away – taking down the Christmas tree on the table and other things we had out.


At Music Makers playing some music – trying to brainstorm some things to play at mom’s funeral.



Sleep at some point. Ana and I have started this ritual of praying with each other every night. It’s a way to reflect and keep our minds at peace.

Monday January 6 2020


At 10:34 a.m. Wanda comes to the house to wake me up. My mom passed on from this earth at 5 in the morning. Ana and I arise and take in what just happened. I knew it was gonna happen after I saw her last night. She was absolutely ready to leave this earth. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to exchange one last I love you with her before she drifted off into sleep.


Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.


Composing a public post on Facebook so everybody knows what happened. Of course, it’s blowing up the internet. So many people out there are concerned and giving their condolences. There are a lot of great words of encouragement.

I love the way my friend Rocky explained the situation, “Today, you lost your mother in her temporal body, but in doing so, you have gained an ancestor whose entire being, as here on earth and now in heaven, was made to love and guide you. Her physical presence is gone and is reclaimed by the earth, but her spirit is with you always, loving you, nurturing you, and guiding you into your next steps. The bond you have can never be broken because it is a bond of unconditional love. Always remember that you were her masterpiece here on earth.


Organizing ideas for the memorial service this weekend.


I found Elvis lying in mom’s recliner chair. He’s right on top of her purse as if on purpose – his way of honoring and paying his respects to her.


At Music Makers for a little while. Kay is here helping take payments and watching the front desk. I print out some flyers to invite everyone to the service and take down the Christmas decorations.


Ana got off work extra early cause she couldn’t handle being there today.


We take care of some chores. I go on a hunt to figure out my mom’s mother’s maiden name cause I need to have accurate info for mom’s death certificate. I happen across quite a few things in one of her file boxes, one including a letter drawn in crayon from when I was a kid, another of my first piano recital program, and my dad and her’s marriage certificate which has all the names and information I need.


Ana and I decide to go out for dinner so we don’t have to cook. At Old Beach Tavern eating a Crab Cake Sandwich with Fries and a Stella.


Sunday January 5 2020

Waking up at 11 a.m. next to Ana.


We head to Three Ships for Biscuits and Coffee. Mom is still on our minds and hearts but we feel at peace. She still hasn’t left us yet.


I received a text from Wanda that mom woke up at 6:45 in the morning, saw Karen Iverson and Wanda and said, “What the heck! I thought I’d be in heaven!”


I take the afternoon off to catch up on business and communications with people.


Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese. Salt n Vinegar Chips with Avocado. English Breakfast Tea.

Watching The Aeronauts (2019).


Composing a letter to be read at mom’s memorial.


Later on in the evening, I decide to go to the hospice to see mom. She’s awake and feeling restless – constantly wanting to sit up and scratching. The nurses come in often to help situate her and give her things to help with the itching or pain. I’m able to have a few more moments with her. I know she was upset to still be here this morning because she was ready. I play a little piano while she rests. Telling her I love you and anything else to help her feel at ease. The whole thing is still surreal but I still feel peace.

At some point I feed a small bite of a muffin that Ana’s mom brought. She saw the box of them and said she wanted it. The nurse came in and I explained that I was able to give her a bite.

“A pinch,” my mom corrects.

“That’s right. A pinch,” I say.

It’s funny cause we always joked about that at the house. There were many times she wanted to try whatever it was being eaten. She’d say she just wanted a pinch.


While driving away I put on this Helen Reddy song she used to sing when she was in the family band way back when, “Keep On Singing”. It’s just another trigger cause when I start singing the chorus it grips me and I can’t help but cry. I remember singing this song with her a long time ago at a gig.


Back home. Cooking dinner: Smoked Salmon with Sugar Snap Peas, Carrots, Kale, and Quinoa.


Settling down. Ana gets off work. I update her about mom. It’s getting really close. She’s experiencing anger about the whole thing. We sort through our feelings...




Saturday January 4 2020


Waking up at 10:45 a.m.


Granola Cereal with Strawberries and Almond Milk.


Going directly to the hospice to visit mom. She’s actually been sleeping heavily all morning and afternoon. Dad’s here. All kinds of people showed up earlier including John and Cindy (old friends of my dad and mom’s) and Jimmy Napier (my mom’s first husband). She’s leaned over snoring sweetly every time she takes a breath.


I have to head over to The Sandler Center to set up for the big show tonight. DEJA and friends perform Pink Floyd’s The Wall, where we show the movie on a big projection screen and play the soundtrack live. This time we’ve got local all-star musicians guest starring on the stage to do solos and such. My head isn’t in a good space but I have to push through.


After sound check I head right back over to the hospice. Karen Iverson is here with a few other friends. Dad of course is still here. Now mom is awake and some of her funny personality is back. But it’s apparent the decline I’ve noticed day to day since she’s been here – her eyes glassy – slow formulated words and phrases. Somehow her true self still shines through cause really she gets energized from people. I stay for a little while but then I have to go. Hugging her at the bedside – and of course every time I start crying.

“That’s her baby boy,” someone says.


Back at the theater I get dressed in my black concert attire – wearing the black western shirt with the roses. Chowing down on some Vegetable Fried Rice I got from near the hospice. I gotta get my head right and focused for the show. The theater is a packed house. As we’re performing there are some great musical and emotional moments, some of the mother related themes feel relevant to me. It turns out to be a successful night. Ana and Amelia were in the audience along with other friends.



Ana and I ride back over to hospice again. Karen Iverson is here. They leave the room at some point so mom and I can have a moment.

“You made a beautiful life for me,” I tell her. “So many great memories.”


“We’re gonna get a house soon. And I’m gonna plant a tree for you,” I say.

“Wow,” she hoarsely says, a word she’s known to use frequently.

“So I can show your grandchildren what a beautiful person you were.”

We start weeping together.


“I gotta get up,” she starts exclaiming in her whispering voice. “I gotta get up to heaven.”

“I know,” I tell her.

Later on, she requests Wanda to join us. We had to call her and get her out of bed. It was really important for her cause she keeps saying, “I don’t know how much longer I have.

So we’re all here now. Basically, we give her permission to leave whenever she’s ready and that everything has been taken care of. It’s a sad but wonderful moment of peace. Karen Iverson prays with Ana. Mom always cared about Ana and her healing. And I know to see that in front of her eyes really warmed her heart.

“You can feel the love can’t you?” I ask.



Karen Iverson asks mom what she would like to tell us to be more ready for times like this.

“Be ready,” she says. “And love people.”

We finally get her to lie back when she sleeps so her neck doesn’t ache. I hug her another time – it could be the last but it might not. We’ll know tomorrow.