Monday, June 18, 2012

I am grateful.

"The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude."  - Friedrich Nietzsche

Making an album and having a kidney transplant are ironically very similar experiences.  Both require others to become a reality. Without a donor, good health and a good future would not be possible.  Without my band, and without my recording engineer, this album would not be possible.  So a unique perspective is gained being in my position.  Control is handed to others or to the universe, and trust and gratitude become essential in everything.

The upcoming album was conceived one night last October during a show at the Barking Spider (one of my favorite venues in Cleveland.)  A guy was there to record some other band and happened to be early and heard us play.  He was an instant fan-literally grabbed us at the end of the show and explained that he had to record us.  We were all a little skeptical, and yet something inside of me said, "go for it, Maura...what do you have to lose!"  So we followed up and over the course of the next few months realized that we had the opportunity to record in a multi-million dollar studio with someone who loved our music engineering the album.  This is rare.  And the icing on this cake is that he has done ALL OF IT for free.  He has spent the last 6 months coming to rehearsals, connecting with us, exploring our sound, opening his home to us for additional recording, and even helped my partner and I move into our new home.  Kevin Montgomery is a wickedly creative individual with a ginormous heart.  Without him this album would not be possible, and I feel such huge gratitude that this stranger has stepped into my life and become such a strong, supportive force and friend.  When I step back and consider how my band has formed, how Kevin has taken us under his wing, how everyone has given so much time and energy, and how patient and supportive the spouses of everyone in this project have been...I am shaken by intense gratitude. I am shaken that a dream is becoming reality.

I am grateful. I am grateful. I am grateful.  

I imagine renal failure is very similar to all serious diseases. Any serious illness, be it cancer or heart, lung, blood disease etc. changes how a body feels and operates.  Suddenly the body's strength, endurance, and energy feel foreign.  The mind may be strong with intent, but the body asks for patience and rest.   And then there's the emotional toll, not only on me, but on those around me as we all struggle to understand what is going on and how to best comfort each other throughout this process.  I'm still with it enough to know that this illness is not just affecting me, but everyone near and dear to me.  I know this and it makes my heart hurt because I can sense the stress others feel witnessing the decline.  But there is hope and on the bad days, I try very hard to remind myself of this.  I focus on the fact that there is someone willing to make a huge sacrifice to save my life, and suddenly all the stress of bills, all the stress of not working, all the stress of going on disability, all the stress of interacting with negative people, all the stress of dealing with health insurances and the upcoming costs of anti-rejection medications, and all the stress of my body's weakness feel a bit foolish.  (I keep hearing the chorus of Elton John's "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" as I write this.  The lyric and emotion of the chorus grab my gut.) So  I could stress out about a lot...but what is the point of it?  There is so much out of my control. And when I step back, remind myself of this, and recognize that there are hundreds and thousands of people battling some sort of health issue, I realize my disease offers me something so very unique.  It offers me an experience to accept life from another human being.  Writing that sentence makes me want to cry, laugh, and say screw the bullshit.

I am grateful. I am grateful. I am grateful.

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