FOR AUNT HEATHER
My story is bittersweet because it is emotional for me to talk about my Aunt Heather. She was my godmother and friend, and she always used to take me out for ice cream sundaes every weekend when I was a child. She was really close to my mom and they loved, loved, loved the Bee Gees. My aunt was mad about Maurice because she said he looked like he would be a loyal friend (I think it was his glasses) and my mom loved Barry. I thought they were all so cool because I loved how different they were. My aunt suffered from diabetes for many years. She had Type 1, which is very bad, and she often had to drive to Boston to the Leahy clinic for treatments. They never could keep her sugar under control, and her circulation was bad, so she had to have some toes amputated. As sick as she would get, she still would have me come and stay overnight on a Friday whenever she felt well enough. That’s when the Bee Gees music would fill the house, and I would dance around and we’d sing until we were exhausted. Love You Inside and Out was my favorite song, and we would sing the echo parts back and forth. As I got older, my aunt got sicker and eventually she was told that both of her legs would have to be amputated below the knees. She had to go to rehab and wound up being in a facility for six months. During that time, I would go to visit and we would sing together…always having a discussion about what we would do if Maurice came to visit her. She’d giggle like a little girl because she was enamored with him, even after so much time had passed. When she finally went home after six months of hospitalization, I surprised her with a Bee Gees party at the house. I got a cake with their pictures on it, and we decorated her living room with balloons and a disco ball! So crazy, but so much fun. I will always remember what her face looked like. She was so surprised, and it was the first time I think she felt comfortable and happy since the operations. Two weeks later she died of a heart attack while sitting in her living room. It seems so surreal now, but the Bee Gees album One was playing on the stereo, and that seemed to be what should have happened because she was such a huge fan. It would be hard to explain in words just how happy Barry, Robin and especially Maurice Gibb made my Aunt Heather feel. I have the memories of my time with her and their wonderful music, and that will stay with me always. I will forever be singing, listening and thinking of my Aunt Heather rocking out in heaven.
February 22, 2013
This week I have posted a small excerpt of a moving story of love…….more later….
The Bee Gees have been in my life since I was a child. I’m 29 now, so that’s 25 years. I think maybe I was 4 when my Mom and I were singing their music together, and I had my first memory of singing “Spirits Having Flown” and all the older songs that were part of getting ready for bed. It was just Mom and me. I never knew my Dad, so I remember most of what was happening. I was so tied to my Mom. When I was in the bathtub, we’d sing “Massachusetts” and “Holiday”. I loved those two especially. Mom was such a huge fan of Barry Gibb. She thought he was a “beautiful soul, as she put it. She loved his voice, and I just loved all three of them. I’d look at the album covers and try to imagine what it would be like to talk with Robin and Maurice, too. As I got older, I listened to everything they wrote; and because I was a restless child, I was anxious to travel and MOVE. I decided to enlist in the military after high school graduation. I hated school, but I knew there was something out there for me. I went into the Marine Corp. You might wonder what this has to do with the Bee Gees, but I’ll get to that. When I went through basic training and even through the first year in the military, I as so exhausted all the time, I hardly had time to listen to my music. I worked so hard and was proud of myself. I say that because I was not a great student and barely got through high school; everything was a challenge and studying was impossible for me. No one ever diagnosed my ADD. We were poor and my school wasn’t the greatest, so making something of myself in the Marines was a huge deal to me. Things were going well when I met my future best friend and husband, James, when I went overseas. He was also a Marine, very smart, handsome and he had a Harley! We had the classic love story, really clicked right away. He and I would take long rides (we were in Germany) on the bike and share off- duty time together. One night we were returning from dinner, and it started to rain. The weather turned nasty really fast. I don’t remember much about the actual accident, but we skidded on a bridge and hit a guardrail. I was thrown off the bike and broke my right leg, ankle and hip. The injuries were so severe the doctors told me they might have to amputate the leg. It was touch and go for 48 hours, but I was lucky and did not lose my leg. What did happen was 6 months of rehab. The doctors were unsure if I would be able to walk….or when. I have to say that James was a rock of support. We were not married yet, but he stuck by me and visited as much as he could when he wasn’t on duty. Now here’s when I went back to my Bee Gees roots. Because I had long periods of “aloneness” and the physical therapy was painful, it was hard not to get terribly depressed. My Mom came through and brought me all the old albums and the newer ones as well. How I adored “Still Waters”! I’d go through them; and depending on my mood, choose the CD of the day. I eventually entertained the whole wing of soldiers who were in various states of rehab. Even the much older guys who knew the Bee Gees in the 60’s at the beginning couldn’t believer that all of us younger kids loved the music so much. It was lifesaving to have the comfort of that music with me.
Story to be continued……..
February 29, 2013….and now the end of the story….
Now I’m out of the Marines and walking! James and I are married and both finishing our college degrees. I actually got some serious tutoring and found that I wasn’t “book stupid” after all. Although Maurice has gone away, the Bee Gees live on in our house and will be a part of us forever. They’re never going to be “gone”. The months of rehab would have been unbearable without them supporting me when I needed the music the most. When we have kids (soon, I hope) I will sing “Massachusetts” at bath time and dance to “Spirits” with them. The music will go on. When someone goes through a life-changing experience, it is hard to describe the power of the music to soothe and heal. I have tried to tell you how I feel, but it is really impossible to describe how I revere these three brothers. My heart is full of love for them.