G is for Guitar

G is for Guitar. My husband picked up playing the guitar while his father, Steve, was battling Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma eight years ago. Kevin had found an old, abandoned guitar at his parent’s house and started to play around with it. He quickly learned the C, G, and E chords and with those chords was able to play a litany of Johnny Cash songs. We would visit his parents while his Dad was sick and Kevin would strum some notes, piecing together a melody and ad-libbing some lyrics. It was therapeutic for everyone; for Kevin to play and for us to listen. During those moments we traded our fears of the future and enjoyed the present.

I’ll never forget when my father-in-law asked his wife to bring him their checkbook. He scribbled out a check and handed it to Kevin. “Look,” he said, “I have no idea how much a guitar costs, but I want you to have this check for $200 to put towards a decent one.” It was a beautiful moment seeing Steve give that gift to his son in gratitude for the gift of Kevin’s playing.

My father-in-law passed away a few months later. We came home from the hospital distraught, unable to fully comprehend the loss we had just experienced. My parents were managing our own household of a two-year-old and a two-month-old. They hugged us, reassured us and said, “We have everything under control here. Take this time and be together just the two of you. You need this time alone.” They shooed us out the door, but we hadn’t a clue what to do or where to go.

We ended up at a guitar store. We admired the guitars hanging on the walls and listened as talented musicians tried out the different instruments. A sales associate approached us and asked if he could help us. “Do you have any left-handed guitars?” my husband asked. “We have one,” he told us. He took it off the wall and set us up in a sound proof room to give it a test drive. It sounded great and my husband decided to buy it. The price tag: $200. Many would call that a coincidence, but I believe that was Steve standing with us, reassuring us, and giving us a gift that we would enjoy for many years to come.

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