"Our Little Trooper"

"Our Little Trooper"
"Let me live, that I may praise you!" Psalm 119:175

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Part 7: "The Music"


Music is such a powerful thing.  It has always been very important in our lives.  Choosing just the right songs for Rowan's service and slide shows was not a task that was taken lightly.  I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we made the right choices though.  I don't think I've ever heard as beautiful of music, seen as heart felt of performances, or felt as receptive and appreciative of an audience.  It was perfect.  Rowan was surely looking down, singing along, like the angel that he now is.

Zoe went to school with Edwin Bates several years ago, while they both attended NESA (North East School of the Arts) in San Antonio.  Rowan also had the honor and the privilege to perform in 3 plays there at NESA, when they were in need of young actors.  Rowan acted with them in Caucasian Chalk Circle, Les Mis, and Midsummer Night's Dream. Edwin's voice is so beautiful! I would often be brought to tears as I sat backstage and listened to him sing.  I especially remember crying every single time he sang "Bring him Home" from Les Mis, in the role of Jean Val Jean. Truth be told, even back then I thought, should anything ever happen to Rowan, I would love to have Edwin sing this at his funeral.  You may find that a morbid thought, but I will not apologize...it was a delicate, fragile life that Rowan lived, even since birth, so this was always a possibility.  Anyway...when Rowan did pass, I told Zoe, I need to fly Edwin here from New York, so he can sing "Bring Him home".  She agreed with Edwin coming to sing, but talked me out of that particular song, warning me it would be too sad.  I asked Edwin his opinion and he agreed that it may be too difficult to get through.  I listened to a video of the song in the hotel room in Seattle, and finally agreed, they were right.  We would never get through that song at his service.  Still, I knew that I needed Edwin to sing for Rowan's service.  Our family loves the Beattles, and one of our favorite movies is "Across the Universe".  Rowan and I especially, loved the song "Let It Be".  They all laughed at me, because every time we watched that movie together, I bawled my eyes out when "Let It Be" came on.  I asked Edwin if he could do that for us, and he agreed.  The next song, Edwin is known for, and for good reason.  I have watched the version of him singing it for his Senior Showcase, no less than 150 times over the past 4-5 years.  It is magic.  So moving.  Zoe reminded me of that song, and I immediately threw my head back and said "Yes! That is perfect".  So, we also asked Edwin to sing "Endless Night" from Lion King the Musical.  If you were there at the service, or watched it live and were able to catch him singing this song at the end of the service, you understand how powerful and moving this moment was.  It was the culmination of all of my feelings, so sad in the beginning, but ending with such a large, positive, hopeful, promise (like Rowan would want).  It made such an impact on us all.  Edwin, I cannot thank you enough for the honor and blessing of your presence and musical talents.  You made me cry, oh how you made me cry...but in a healing, healthy, needed way.  And further more, thank you for being an important light in Rowan's life.  You knew Rowan, acted with him at NESA, visited him in the hospital in San Antonio often, played with him, and eventually came full circle and honored Rowan's life, after his death, by singing at his memorial service.  God bless you for that.  For all of it.

The second musician and vocalist that played ukulele and sang at Rowan's service at Live The Life Church for his service was Kainoa Kamaka.  God has a funny way of bringing people into your lives.  And you just never know exactly why...until you do.  When Rowan and Jason Cox, from Marrow Match, came up with the song "Row Row Rowan your boat, gently down the stream.  'Marrow-ly', 'marrow-ly', 'marrow-ly', 'marrow-ly', life is but a dream", just before we left for Seattle, we had no idea how many more versions we would hear of it.  Church groups, seminar attendees, groups on retreats, business meetings, groups of friends, etc. would record their own renditions for the next 5+ months.  Undoubtedly the best version we ever saw posted on Facebook though, was that of Kainoa Kamaka and friends, sitting in a living room full of family and friends, jamming on their ukuleles.  We did not know them personally, but it fast became our favorite.  Rowan and I especially loved how they mashed it up with "One Love".  I must have played it for Rowan 50 times while we were in Seattle, and many of his nurses got to see it while they were at his bedside too. Rowan told me, "I hope I get to play my ukulele with them when I get back home to Texas".  I promised him he could do that.  I didn't know he would never get the chance to.  After Rowan passed, as I was packing up his things from the hospital, I came across his ukulele.  He played it so many times with Evelyn the music therapist.  It will forever be one of my favorite memories of our time in the hospital there.  As I packed it to be shipped home to Texas, I remembered my promise to Rowan. The one I could no longer keep.  To me, the next best thing was to ask Kainoa to play for Rowan, since Rowan couldn't play with him.  He immediately agreed to do so.  My song requests ended up growing though and Kainoa blessed us with songs at all three memorial events (the church, the cemetery and Enchanted Rock).  At the memorial service at the church, he did the most beautiful version of "Hallelujah" I have ever heard.  You could have heard a pin drop.  He took everyone's breath away with the music and vocals.  The church was just still, other than the song.  I am sure that Rowan was strumming along on his own ukulele from up above.  Thank you for that Kainoa.  It was simply perfect.

Finally, Zoe's video slideshow needed a song for all the priceless videos she put together.  I asked her to please use Andra Day's "Rise Up".  It is the song that I played at least ten times a day when Rowan was in that first coma, when he moved down to the ICU in Seattle.  I laid my phone in his bed, just above his pillow, and played it again and again, as my tears drenched his bed.  At that time, the song was me trying to encourage Rowan, to will him to rise up, to wake up out of the coma.  It worked, and after 5 days he did wake up from the coma, and we had nearly 2 more months with our boy.  For the memorial service video slide show, it had a different meaning to me though.  This time, I was hoping that it would encourage us all (myself included) to rise up every day...because that is what Rowan would want us to do.  The lyrics resonated with me so much, and I am so glad Zoe was able to make that song work for her amazing video slideshow of Rowan.  There was not a dry eye in the room.

Rowan, I know you loved the songs we picked for your service.  They warmed our hearts and souls, just like you did every single day.  I know these melodies and lyrics will remind us all of you for the rest of our lives.

I love you and I miss you Rowan...
so very much...

singing these songs daily ...


Endless Night~ (Lion King)

Where has the starlight gone?
Dark is the day
How can I find my way home?
Home is an empty dream
Lost to the night
Father, I feel so alone
You promised you'd be there
Whenever I needed you
Whenever I call your name
You're not anywhere
I'm trying to hold on
Just waiting to hear your voice
One word, just a word will do
To end this nightmare
When will the dawning break
Oh endless night
Sleepless I dream of the day
When you were by my side
Guiding my path
Father, I can't find the way
You promised you'd be there
Whenever I needed you
Whenever I call your name
You're not anywhere
I'm trying to hold on
Just waiting to hear your voice
One word, just a word will do
To end this nightmare
I know that the night must end
And that the sun will rise
And that the sun will rise
I know that the clouds must clear
And that the sun will shine
And that the sun will shine
I know that the night must end
And that the sun will rise
And that the sun will rise
I know that the clouds must clear
And that the sun will shine
And that the sun will shine
(Repeat to end)
I know
Yes, I know
The sun will rise
Yes, I know
I know
The clouds must clear
I know that the night must end
I know that the sun will rise
And I'll hear your voice deep inside
I know that the night must end
And that the clouds must clear
The sun
The sun will rise
The sun
The sun will rise



Rise Up~ Andra Day

You're broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry go round
And you can't find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains
And I'll rise up
I'll rise like the day
I'll rise up
I'll rise unafraid
I'll rise up
And I'll do it a thousand times again
And I'll rise up
High like the waves
I'll rise up
In spite of the ache
I'll rise up
And I'll do it a thousands times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
When the silence isn't quiet
And it feels like it's getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we'll take the world to its feet
And move mountains
We'll take it to its feet
And move mountains
And I'll rise up
I'll rise like the day
I'll rise up
I'll rise unafraid
I'll rise up
And I'll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other
We will rise
We will rise
We'll rise, oh oh
We'll rise
I'll rise up
Rise like the day
I'll rise up
In spite of the ache
I will rise a thousands times again
And we'll rise up
Rise like the waves
We'll rise up
In spite of the ache
We'll rise up
And we'll do it a thousands times again
For you oh oh oh oh oh
For you oh oh oh oh oh
For you oh oh oh oh oh
For you








3 comments:

  1. Carrie I cried so much as his funeral, I think i'm crying more right now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. God bless you and your family. My heart is breaking; I can't imagine what you all are going through. I miss Rowan too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Paul McCartney wrote Let it Be at a very low point in his life, his mother had passed, he was increasing his drug and alcohol use and the band was having problems. Mary his mother came to him in a dream and spoke those 3 words. I love this song, it brought so much comfort to our family. God bless your family with love and strength as you continue your journey to your heavenly reunion with Rowan

    ReplyDelete