After Boris died, I felt this need to in some ways carry on who he was, including his interests and passions. I knew that his love for science wouldn’t be one I could try to tackle, and I tried to care for his computer and techy belongings in the best way I knew how, but I was still a bit lost. Boris was an incredible musician and could probably play any instrument, but he was especially good at the piano. So, one of his possessions that I felt committed to was his keyboard, and even though I have zero musical background or talent, I felt compelled to start taking lessons so that it would be used and I could somehow make him proud. I had this vision that I would become very good at piano and play the songs he used to play, and somehow feel this special connection to him in that. Early on, I thought that playing piano was going to be some kind of window to him, a way for me to demonstrate that I was carrying him with me through music.
Well, for the last four years I have been taking piano lessons. And…struggling at piano lessons. To be fair, there have been some gaps in between lessons and there have been lots of life stressors in between–the pandemic shifted my lessons to virtual, my dad’s care needs, etc. But, if I am being 100% honest with myself and with everyone else, I am really not good at piano. I do not love playing it. I do not think about doing it for fun in my spare time. It is really hard, and I have not gotten “into” it like I’d imagined. All of my hopes and dreams for what it would mean for me to play Boris’s piano feel like…well, a failure. I feel like I have let him down somehow. Like I have not carried his memory on like I wanted to–his talents and interests. I feel like learning piano is one of my grief fails.
Right now I am taking a break from lessons so I can focus more time on writing my dissertation, but also so I can reflect on this hobby and if it makes sense to continue. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be good at piano. I want to love it. I want to walk over to the keyboard and play a familiar tune. I want to feel comfortable playing, and feel inspired to play. But, at least for now, I just don’t. And, I know in my rational brain that it is ok. It is ok for me to not love piano for Boris. I know that it doesn’t mean I have failed. But there is still that sneaky guilty griefy part of my heart that says: You should have tried harder. You have to do this for Boris!