When the moment arrives, dance as if no one were watching

When someone you love dies, there are moments of unguarded grief when something will remind you of the person you loved and it will pour over you and soak you to the bone.  Moments you don’t expect.  Moments such as being in the grocery store and you see her favorite food and it feels as if you were punched in the gut.  Or you are mindlessly channel surfing and come across her favorite show and the air is suddenly sucked out of you like you are drowning.  You pray those moments will come fewer and farther between each other.  Or that you will at least get a warning when they are coming.  You long for the day when you will have a memory that makes you smile.  Maybe, just maybe even laugh.  Though, there is a part of you that feels as if that is a wish that will never come true.

Growing up with Mom was not your typical experience.  She loved music and singing and dancing.  While other kids were singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” I was singing Three Dog Night’s Joy to the World or Harry Belafonte’s Day-O.  Yes, the blonde haired preschooler in pigtails busting out with:

Day-o, day-ay-ay-o… Daylight come and he wan’ go…home … Day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day,

he say day-ay-ay-o …  Daylight come and he wan’ go …home …  Work all night on a drink a’rum … (Daylight come and he wan’ go home)

It was always fun.  I could bust a move on the drop of a dime.  And had no problems doing so.  It was just how it was. I learned early on how to dance as if no one were watching.  How was I to know what other kids did or songs they sang?  I had a blast with Mom.

Last night, the family went out to dinner after the soccer festivities.  We went to a small burger joint that tries to have a 50’s diner feel to it.  It’s good food and fun music.  After we all sat down and had our food, I heard it.  I knew it by the first note.

Bah nuh nuh (There was no way I could resist singing it.)

Jeremiah was a bullfrog

Was a good friend of mine

Gabriella giggled.  Clint and Brandon ignored me. Zarek waited to see what was next

I never understood a single word he said

But I helped him a-drink his wine

I leaned into Gabriella and sang out:

And he always had some mighty fine wine


I could not resist the dance.  How could I resist the dance?  People would stare, but I would dance as if no one were watching.

Joy to the world

I spun

All the boys and girls now

I laughed

Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea

I danced.

Joy to you and me

Gabriella got into the spirit of things and seemed to sense it was something bigger than her Mom just being silly and dancing.  Something was happening that she wanted to be a part of.

If I were the king of the world

Tell you what I’d do

I’d throw away the cars and the bars and the war

Make sweet love to you

Sing it now…


Joy to the world

All the boys and girls

Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea

Joy to you and me

Jiving with Gabriella and laughing.

You know I love the ladies

Love to have my fun

I’m a high life flyer and a rainbow rider

A straight shootin’ son-of-a-gun

I said a straight shootin’ son-of-a-gun


Joy to the world

All the boys and girls

Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea

Joy to you and me

It had happened.  The moment I had waited all these months for and doubted would ever come.  That moment anyone who has ever lived through grief waits for doubting it will arrive yet holding your breath hoping it will.

It was happiness.

It was joy.

It was Mom.

Had I closed my eyes and reached out my hands while I spun and sang, I have no doubt I would feel Mom’s hands in mine enjoying the moment.

It arrived.


In the moment there was the joy I waited for.  The peace I craved.  The memory that made me laugh.

Joy to the world

All the boys and girls now

Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea

Joy to you and me



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