This memory resurrected itself recently, while chatting / sympathising about the importance of our animal friends ... and how difficult their loss can be.
I will let the story unfold ... written in January 2019 when I lost my own pet - Sidiki - his loss left me bereft - "pets, they leave paw prints on your heart".
Back in 2019 ... on Thursday evenings I lead a dance session with a friend at the Camphill Community near Belfast, a residential home for adults with learning difficulties. There would be 30-40 participants, including some staff, each enjoying dance in their own way.
We get to know the names of those residents who are able to tell us, many are not able to speak.
One young man, a tall red-head, comes to every session, he is not able to tell me his name. In the circle-dances he holds my hand too tight, and sometimes he will take his other hand, reach across and pinch the skin on the top of my hand. When he does this, I look at him and wonder ... “what he is trying to say?”
I learn to anticipate this and brush his hand away, or distract him in dance.
Last night, we were in the circle, he was beside me, we were holding hands, he didn’t try to pinch me, he moved in a different way, he lifted my hand towards his face, it felt wrong to pull away.
I had no idea what his next action might be, and wondered to myself ... is he going to try and bite me ... I was glad I had not pulled away as I watched him place the gentlest of kisses on the very spot he usually pinches.
At that moment I said to myself ... “he knows my pain”.
Just 4 days previous I had to take that terrible decision to put my dog Sidiki to sleep. He was deteriorating quickly from inoperable tumours which had only been discovered two days previously. He had been my companion for 11 years. I was heart-broken. The following day I heard the tragic news that a dear friend, Peter Woods, has also died.
Peter’s funeral service was beautiful. He was deeply involved in the Belfast music and dance scene; it was he who asked me to take over the dance session at Camphill – introducing me to my red-haired friend. The pastor gave a wonderful tribute and at the end of the service we all sang ...
"Dance, dance, wherever you may be , I am the Lord of the Dance, said He
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be, and I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said He"
Peter was a great animal lover and as reflect on a very difficult time, I take comfort in imagining Peter and Sidiki taking off on a whole new adventure together.
I think of music as my oldest, most dearest friend, helping me cope through troubled times - whisking me away to another place, to heal and cope with what is going on around me. In January 2019 I was drawn to the piano once more, to a melody written by Bernard Loffet RIP - Valse à Mary - its sadness mirrored my own life at that time and I wrote this arrangement. ...
Annette is an accomplished dancer and multi-instrumentalist.
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-Irish News Article
-Warning re Dance!
-The Dan Furey Group
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-Dancing vrs Ageing