The Sarnas: Family Support Story #9


Years ago, I met a family while lingering around Guitar Center.  I overheard them talking about buying a guitar setup for their daughter, and so I offered my card and we had a conversation.  I started lessons with them shortly after meeting them and I worked with the daughter, Christine, for several years.  

I learned early on that her mother had cancer, and that she was battling for her life, so her mom’s health was often a topic that I would check in on week to week as we worked.  I would do my best to help distract her from the difficulty of the situation, while also flowing with the emotional shifts that were coming with the coping process. She was a very good student, and took to the guitar and singing with an open mind and great ease.

Sadly, sometime after we started lessons, her mom passed away.  It was a heavy time in their house, and I did all I could to help Christine and her father feel supported by my presence.  I would bring her books to check out, and was supportive of her interest in Paganism. I actually gifted her my teenage-purchased Tarot card deck, an item I had been holding on to for a great many years.  

I also took an interest in her artistic abilities, and would often ask her to show me what she was working on, be they paintings, drawings, or other works she was creating.  I spent a lot of time showing her new bands, and music that she hadn't been aware of, and she was into it. We discovered that she had a great love of Queen.  

One of my fondest memories of working with Christine was when we would sit out in her backyard and do summertime lessons in the sun.  I remember really enjoying those times and I always enjoyed teaching her. We only stopped lessons when her, her dad, and (later on) his dad’s fiance all decided to move to North Jersey.  I was sad to see them go, but was happy to see their family unit starting anew. From the sadness and loss of death came a new beginning, and to witness that was an amazing thing.  

Take Away From This Story:

Sometimes you encounter families that are enduring great sadness, and in those times it’s important to embrace a position of being extra supportive.  Offering an ear, or finding ways to cultivate interests, or sometimes just being present to rock out to Queen is the best road to healing. That was something that stuck with me, the importance of my role in bringing creativity into a situation where creativity could very well have withered.  I like to think that my presence made it a little easier on them all to move ahead from the pain that they were experiencing. It’s important for me to say that her Mom was a doll. A very nice and kind woman, who had a battle before her that was not easy, or comfortable, or even fair, given that she had a family she wanted to be with. It was heartbreaking to experience her life, but also her death.  

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