This is something I wrote a while back...sort of a life story...

On a clear, cold night in Minnesota, two little girls sit in the backseat of their parents car looking up at the stars. Together they start reciting a simple wish; “Star light, star bright, the first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, wish upon this star tonight.” The older girl finishes hers with “I wish I could be a ballerina”, the younger one with “I wish I could play the violin”.

A few months later, the parents enroll the older girl  in ballet classes. The little girl begins to cry. Her father says to her “Why are you crying?” and the little girl replies, “Why did my sisters wish come true but not mine?” The little girl’s parents are surprised that she remembers her wish and wonder to themselves how anyone could teach a 3 year old to play the violin. Her parents think that she will eventually forget that she wants to play the violin. She doesn’t, and every time they bring her sister to her ballet class, she asks if her wish will ever be granted. Her parents quickly realize that the little girl is not going to forget her wish.

Later that year the little girl’s father tells her that she has been registered for violin lessons. She is thrilled - so excited to begin. She practices hard on her little butter box violin for weeks, and is finally given a real violin. She is overwhelmed with joy.

With her father by her side, the little girl practices hard every day (well, almost every day...). One day, she gets very frustrated trying to play “Twinkle, Variation B”.  She puts her violin down and leaves the room, determined that it is just too hard, that she will never be able to play “Yoka - ta - yoka”. But something draws her back into the living room, next to the green couch. She picks up her violin and tries again, and again, and again. And finally succeeds.

The little girl’s  father takes her to every violin lesson, every group class, and every recital. He accompanies her to a very large, very important concert. There are so many people there. He is afraid that his little girl will get lost, so he makes her sit by him and play the Twinkle Variations in her seat. She admires the older, more advanced students. They are playing in the aisles because there is no room left on the stage. She dreams of someday being able to play in the aisles.

The little girl continues to practice almost everyday, with her father by her side. She looks up to the older children and strives to play Humoresque, the Bach Double, Veracini Gigue, and finally Fiocco Allegro (she thinks that it is the hardest, most advanced piece ever written for the violin).  Sometimes when she is practicing, her father falls asleep. To rouse him, she pokes him with the tip of her bow. She takes great joy in this.

One day, her parents are told that there is a great opportunity for the little girl.  A trip across the sea to play with her group class and orchestra as part of a Suzuki School Exchange. Her parents are excited, but also nervous. How can they let their  little girl go so far away (even if it is only for a week). They make the decision together that her father will accompany her on the trip. He loves to travel and is excited by the opportunity.

The little girl, now a young lady, and her father board the plane together. When they arrive, the girl is taken to her host family’s house. Her father checks in to a hotel. The next day, the girl  and her father go to rehearsals and a special luncheon. She and her father sit together on the bus to travel to the different locations. It is late when when they get back to the host city. It is dark outside. Her father walks her to her host family’s house. He gets very tired, and they stop at a pastry shop for a treat.

The next day, the girl has rehearsals and a tour of a silk factory. She is surprised when the director tells her that her father can’t be with her. He isn’t feeling well. The girl worries, but continues on with her busy day.  Her father said that he would meet her for dinner at her host family’s house, she can be with him then.

When dinner time arrives, the girl and her host family wait for her father to arrive.

They wait.

And wait.

Finally, the girls host mother calls her father’s hotel. The girl is there when she calls. The host mother is speaking in another language. She shoos the girl up to her room. A few minutes later, she comes up and gets the girl and tells her that they need to go to the directors home.

The girl is worried.

When they arrive at the director’s house, there is an ominous silence. The director approaches the girl. Hugs her. And tells her gently that her father has died. He has been found in his hotel room.

The little girls falls to the floor, her world quickly crumbling. How can this be? What do they mean?

She is devastated.

The next few days are a blur. She remembers staying with the director, and listening to the teachers talk about overtones. She has no idea what overtones are. She would like to be home with her family, but decides she will play the final concert with the orchestra and then return home.

After the concert someone drives her to the airport. Her mother and sister are  in shock, so the little girl’s violin teacher flies across the sea to bring her home. The teacher buys her a small bottle of perfume. It is Thanksgiving Day. The little girl and her violin teacher have Thanksgiving dinner at an airport.

When she arrives home, the girl is glad to be with her mother and sister.  The Suzuki orchestra makes it home in time to play at the fathers funeral. The little girl plays a solo -  “Meditation from Thais”.

In the days, weeks, and years following her father’s death, the girl continues her violin lessons, her group classes, and her orchestras.  But she doesn’t practice.

She is sad. She is also angry.

She takes her anger out on her mother, who is devastated by the sudden death of her husband. The girl is lost.

One day when the girl gets home from school she finds her sister crying alone at the kitchen table. She is holding a note. In silence, the sister hands the girl the note. It is from the girls mother. It says “I have cancer. I am on a walk”. The girl and her sister cry together and then with their mother when she returns home.

The sisters accompany their mother to the hospital to discuss the treatment options for their mothers cancer with the doctors. The girls have no idea what to say. They just want everything to be OK. They don’t want to lose their mother.

The mother is admitted to the hospital for surgery. The girl speaks with the anesthesiologist who is a family friend. She says “please bring my mother back safely.” He does.

When the mother returns home after surgery the sisters do their best to care for her. It is hard. The sisters are young, one in college and one in high school. The mother stays very strong. Even through the chemo. The sisters have to learn to be understanding. Their mother is very tired.

The girl continues to play the violin, but her heart is not in it. It is too painful.

One day something changes. The little girl is older now, a senior in high school. She tells her teacher that she would like to become a professional violinist. Her teacher is surprised, but supportive.

She studies music in college, graduates, and moves far away to attend graduate school as a violinist. She loves the violin and has realized that it is what feeds her soul. It has the ability to take away some of the pain of her past. It has been years since the death of her father.  She still misses him every day. Her mother’s cancer has been cured.

She is happy.

She meets a man, a cellist. They fall in love and eventually marry. On a happy November day the girl learns that she is pregnant. She could not be happier. She learns all she can about how to have a happy and healthy baby. She does everything right. But three months later, on Martin Luther King Day, she loses the baby.

She is heartbroken.

The only things that take her mind off of the pain are rehearsals and practicing. The violin has become a great escape.

Later on that year the girl becomes pregnant again. She is happy. She is terrified. Her doctor assures her that she will be fine. She travels to Vermont to play concerts and to teach at a music festival. She has a heavy performance schedule the first week of the festival - Ravel Duo, Bartok String Quartet, Cafe Music, and Kodaly Trio. She practices very hard.

On the night of the first performance, the Ravel Duo with her husband, she knows something is not right. Moments before she goes on stage she realizes she is losing the baby. She pours all of herself into the performance. She throws herself at the other pieces and has very successful performances.

But she is sad. Again.

Four months later she learns she is pregnant once again. The doctors have now taken more precautions with her. She is terrified for 9 months.She plays Brahms Second Symphony and feels the baby move. It is beautiful.  In June she has the baby she has dreamed of, and hoped for.

Hearing her daughter's first cry is the happiest moment of her life.

Until she hears her laugh.

The husband applies for a job far away. He gets the job and they move. The girl concentrates on being a mother and violinist. She would like another child. A sibling for her daughter. She knows how important it can be to have a sibling - she has always been so close to her own sister.

She becomes pregnant almost immediately and is thrilled. When she hears and sees the baby’s heartbeat for the first time she is ecstatic. Certainly this means the baby will be fine. Many weeks later she goes to the doctor for a routine visit. It is Halloween.

Her husband stays home with their daughter. The nurse becomes concerned when she can’t find the baby’s heartbeat. She brings the girl to get an ultrasound. The girl watches the screen and is devastated by what she sees.

There is no heartbeat. The baby has died.

The girl has surgery. She insists that the doctors do it fast. She wants to take her daughter Trick-or-Treating. She does, although it is difficult.

The girl becomes pregnant again and loses the baby. Again. And again. She loses herself in her music. And in her despair.

One day, when she is pregnant for the seventh time, the doctor calls and tells the girl that she has a problem that has caused her pregnancies to fail. The girl is given medicine to help the pregnancy. On a cold January day, a little boy is born. The most beautiful boy in the world.

The girl, and her family, are happy. And complete.

Years later the girls daughter begins to have headaches. The girl is concerned for her daughter. She realizes there is something wrong. Something is very wrong. She takes her daughter to the doctor. They say she is fine. The girl takes her to a different doctor.

Her daughter is diagnosed with epilepsy. She goes to rehearsal and loses herself.

With medication the epilepsy is controlled. For a while.  But the seizures eventually return. The doctors increase her daughters medicine to dangerously high doses, but the seizures always return. Although mild, the seizures are terrifying.

After a couple of years the seizures become worse. The girls daughter has to go to the hospital. The girl thinks she may lose her daughter. She calls her mother. Her mother comes from far away to be with the girl and her daughter. Her mother says

“This is the worst thing that has ever happened. Even worse than losing your father”. 

The girl is terrified.

It is Halloween. The girl leaves her mother at the hospital to care for her daughter and returns home to take her son Trick-or-Treating, but her heart is at the hospital. The neighbors question her when they see she is crying. She doesn’t know what to say.

Through a haze of medication the girls daughter returns home from the hospital. She is so medicated that she cannot function in school. It is hard. The doctors recommend trying a special diet for the epilepsy. The girl and her husband decide to try it.

It is difficult, laborious. The girls daughter hates it. The daughter vomits. And cries. And cries. And cries. She takes 28 pills a day. The daughter is only six years old.

The girl spends her time cooking food for her daughter. All of her time. She has no time for anything else. She gets angry when the daughter refuses the food she spends so many hours making. She throws ice cream across the kitchen on her husbands birthday. It is horrible. She finds solace when she goes to rehearsals or gets the occasional fifteen minutes to practice the violin. The husband tries to help, but can't, he his stuck spinning at the bottom of a deep well.

The girl is stressed.

And frustrated.

But the the daughters seizures go away. The medication is slowly decreased.

A year goes by. The diet gets easier. But the daughter is unhappy. She hates the diet. She hates her medicine. She hates everything. The girls heart breaks every time the daughter comes home from school crying because someone brought doughnuts for a birthday and she couldn’t have any.  Her heart breaks when the daughter cries at every meal.

Then someone makes her laugh. The laugh is like a beacon in the darkness. It is good. The girl is happy.

And she is also proud. Proud of a daughter who can resist temptation and live with an intractable illness.

Proud that her family can survive this.

She is proud, and happy.

But she is also sad,

and angry,

and frustrated,

and terrified,

and heartbroken,


She is happy for the 14 wonderful years she had with the best father in the world; some people don’t even have that much time.

She is happy that her mother survived cancer and is still alive, and happy, and able to travel; she knows many who have not survived.

She is happy that she has a sister to laugh with, and to cry with; she knows that she is lucky.

She is happy that she has two beautiful children; she knows many people who do not.

She is happy that she can escape through the violin; she knows many who have given up.

She is happy to have some of the best friends in the world; these are the people who can bring her out of the darkness when no one else can....

She is happy that her husband managed to jump out of his deep well of despair; she is not sure she could have lasted much longer on her own...