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Saying Good-byes before the End: Piano style

Large Newfie and the elderly

I have been extremely lucky in the grandparent department. My mom’s parents are still alive at 94 and last December they celebrated their 70th anniversary. However, the last few years, health has declined and the depth of memory has fizzled. But, up until a few years ago, some of my funniest and most drunken moments have been with them by my side.

Mom mom and me and amy
My sister and I committed one Friday a month for over a decade to hop on the New Jersey transit after work and sleep over our mom-mom and pop-pop’s house. Not without an Italian dinner with over sized plates of chicken parmesan and clams with garlic sauce. In PA. many restaurants are BYOB, so sure enough my grandparents would pack some low-grade Cabernet and a craft of ready-made gin and tonics that my pop-pop would whip up for him and the owner of the restaurant.
They made their annual Cape Cod visit in July which was full of wine, laughter, talking over each other, and repeating old stories. We would venture to Martha’s Vineyard for fried clams, buttered lobster rolls, and bloody mary’s; and of course savor the sunset melting over the Nantucket sound on our way back on the island ferry.
We even egged on my mom-mom to sing her favorite song, “Loving The Man of Mine by Porgy and Bess, for a small audience around our kitchen island one summer evening, as she was a talented performer, pianist and then piano teacher for many years.
She and I had and will always have this special bond.
mom mom and me
I spent a summer’s week with them while my parents jaunted off to Italy—when I was too young to head to over night camp in Fryeburg, Maine. We cooked, went to Sesame Place, the water park located in Yardley Pa. and constructed wooden baskets decorated with sea shells. I watched the risqué Patrick Swayze movie, Road House with her when I was maybe eleven. I crafted my Bat Mitzvah speech with her, based on the Broadway show, Starlight Express, adapted from the classic story, The Little Engine That Could.
I rested my head in her boobs to make her laugh. I would comb her hair with her little plastic yellow brush. I ate her gin soaked olives while she nursed her martinis.
She was brilliant, a woman ahead of her time–progressive in outlook and intuition. She ate holistically six decades before it was trendy. She loved her husband with gumption and still does. She had impeccable taste dressing in hues of beige, burgdany and camels. She celebrated the little things and couldn’t help her rose-colored glasses mentality.
She is my favorite and I am hers.
During the holiday season, my birthday falls near Christmas, so enviably my gifts get intertwined.
In the past I have received spa packages and designer bags—custom Japanese knives and beautiful jewelry. But this year, I requested a few more simple gifts. One being piano lessons…
mom pop and T
I took lessons for several years when I was younger, like many of you, and because of petty reasons I quit. I totally regret letting such a classic skill and hobby dissipate. I decided to take it up again. Mostly, to honor this remarkable woman, who spread happiness and beauty through her talented finger tips.
Too many times, we wait to celebrate people’s lives after they are gone. I am confident that I sucked the marrow out of this relationship and forever will feel grateful that I was gifted such a stellar grandparent.
When I relearn how to read sheet music, followed by how to play the tunes of her favorite songs,  I will musically continue to rejoice her life and the life I sweetly remember.
four generations

Satisfy your senses,
Amanda (follow me on Twitter!)

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4 Responses to “Saying Good-byes before the End: Piano style”
  1. Ronni Baron says:

    Hi Amanda!
    Your post is beautifully written and your love for your grandparents is palpable… I hope my five babies will feel the
    Devotion and love that you have shared with everyone in this piece…. I just loved it!

    • thebourneexplorer says:


      Thank you for your kind words! I am sure they will feel the same way I do about my grandparents. Hope you weathered the storm. Stay warm.;-)


  2. Beth Berger says:

    Hi Amanda,

    My cousin Jill saw this and sent it to me. What a lovely shot of life with mom-mom and pop-pop. The last photo of 4 generations of Bergers is priceless. Mazel tov to you and your lovely family on Sunny’s birth. She is a beauty. Hi to Travis from us also. Keep warm!

    • thebourneexplorer says:

      HI Beth,

      I can’t believe I forgot to write back. My apologies…How are you? Have you seen any note worthy plays? Hope you are doing well! Stay in touch.
      Much love,

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