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  • Writer's pictureSusan Welsh


2020 was supposed to be a very good year. There was a trip planned to Italy—an adventure that was to begin in Rome, where I still dream of the cappuccino at Cafe Greco, then on to the Amalfi Coast, where I anticipated gazing at the terraced vineyards while a gentle breeze stirred up the scent of lemon groves—a pocketful of la dolce vita to bring back home with us.

Instead, the world was ravaged by a global pandemic and in October, my father passed away, slipping into eternal sleep at 2:10 am on the cusp of the autumnal equinox with The Harvest Moon shining like a beacon over the nursing home, air crisp and chilly and a room empty of my father's breath.

The finality of his death felt surreal. It still does. As many do, I find comfort in books and music. It isn't difficult to draw a direct line from the songs and books I love, now and then, to him. There's a gorgeous remake of an old Broadway show tune that I heard again for the first time in decades called "More I Cannot Wish You," by Loudin Wainwright III, and hearing it took me down memory lane to a year of Bucks County Playhouse season tickets my father gave to my mother and me. It's on that stage where I first heard the song, written by one of my favorite composers, Hoagy Carmichael, for the show "Guys and Dolls." The lyrics are poignant and the rawness of recent loss made them even more so for me. "Music I can wish ya/merry music while you're young/and wisdom when your hair has turned to gray. . ."

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