Lately, you’ve read some of my poems detailing the struggle I’ve had over the year with recovering from a heart attack, my triple bypass, gall bladder surgery and pancreatitis. It was a full year of not knowing if I’d ever feel good again, or work doing what I love, or being able to do the fun stuff with John that we did prior to getting sick.
A week ago I hit rock bottom being denied a trip to LA to see Springsteen and the E Street Band with friends I took to see the River Tour at the Sports Arena 35 years ago in 1980. His son invited me to go at Christmas and I spent 3 months super excited about going. I wish I still had a photo from that long ago. At the time, I had a girlfriend, and we had driven down from Utah where I was going to school to see him in October. I drove the whole way with a a broken ankle, which was put into a cast 3 hours before the show. I was transformed that night into a decades long fanatic of Bruce Springsteen and his band. I was drawn to his music, his sense of community, and the sheer joy he had in performing and giving back to an audience that clearly loved him and the band.
Having been denied that trip last week by security here in Seattle, I was crushed. It was exactly a year since the open heart surgery and I was planning on using the weekend to come out of recovery and into a new life ahead. Sitting in the airport watching the plane taxi from the gate without me was when I hit rock bottom. I was inconsolable and felt like I had no place to turn.
The following Saturday morning my husband, John, and I woke up early and the sunrise was particularly beautiful. We sat on the deck with our coffee and watched the sky change, the sun come up over the Cascades and light flood our home. I began to feel better. Then, Tuesday morning I decided to buy a ticket for Springsteen’s show in Portland and drove down. I didn’t go to the show with anyone because I wanted to be anonymous and be able to dance and sing for 3.5 hours without a care in the world. Springsteen shouted at the top of the show, “Are you ready to be transformed?” and if there was anyone in that arena needing to be transformed, it was me. And by the end of the evening, extremely tired, hoarse and feeling like I’d overdone it from a tight chest, I was feeling transformed. A lifetime of memories of countless shows, how I felt when I saw the band in all its various configurations, and the one constant feeling of community – a shared moment in time with people who just wanted some release came back. I was released from my inner demons, pain, and the hard realities of recovery.
Then, in Seattle, my Godson and his fiancé, my husband, a few other friends all went to the Seattle show. We were invited by our good friends, Judy and Todd, to join them and we all witnessed an epic show. It was far different from the Portland show as Bruce was in high spirits, the crowd was with him the entire night, and the band played tight and beautifully. One of the causes dear to my heart – feeding the hungry – was in the house as expected, but that night it was different as Pearl Jam offered to match whatever was collected.
In a gesture not done yet on this tour, Bruce collected signs from the audience and the last hour and a half became a bit of a free-for-all adding energy and fun to an already glorious evening. Sitting with John, dancing with my Godson, and completing my transformation from a stunningly hard year happened.
At the end of the show, when Bruce again asked, “Are you done?” several times to the audience to egg them on, I was thinking to myself, “no I’m not, not by a long shot.” And so I’m ready to take what comes, come back into my life, our lives together as a married couple, and move on. I just had to wait a week to be restored. All it took was a quiet morning over coffee with John, a sunrise, two Springsteen concerts, and my Godson, his fiancé, and a whole host of wonderful friends. It’s great to be reconnected to all that lies ahead.