If Anything Should Happen

If anything should happen, Please forgive me for my absence.

The silence may be greater

And the air be colder too.


If anything should happen

They'll be those that carry forward

And those just stuck in wonder

How to begin life anew.


If anything should happen

I will miss you without ending.

For your life shaped mine in tandem;

I thank every part of you.


If anything should happen

Leave the little to the wayside.

Life is brief and it is wrought

With things too big to muddle through.


But if nothing ever happened

There'd be grey and bleak and endless.

Not laugh nor tear nor smile

Would hold in memory so true.


So please, make something happen.

For without this, nothing matters.

And this speck of time in space

Is much more fleeting than I knew.


Such weeping rusts the clock

And time stands still for nought and no one.

Yet, if there's a forever,

Know that, always, I'll love you.



I wrote this about a month before surgery, about when I was first thinking of my Advance Directive. I thought about sending it as a "not good-bye, but see you later" to work friends or to my family, but reconsidered thinking it too morbid. Now in 20-20 I see how necessary it may have been. Thus, I will strive in future to say how I feel and what I mean in the here and now. It sounds corny, but as Kate Winslet's character Iris in my favorite film The Holiday would say "I like corny. I'm looking for corny in my life."


Currently Listening To:

"That Next Place" by Thomas Newman from Meet Joe Black

Admittedly, I have not seen this film. I cannot comment on the song's efficacy as part of the theatrical piece. I discovered it by accident while playing scores on computer during work, probably about a month before I went on leave. The emotion of the piece, the doubt and resolution, the horns that I assume were a recurring motif in the film (speculating) and likely detailed the main character's journey. Similarly the climbing violins suggest the romance between main character and love interest and so on.

But what fascinates me most about this piece is that even when it does burst into a proud ballad, that doubting violin comes back in reminding us of the doubt beyond life, "that next place" that we know not of. And as I sat there trying to compose an email or complete a training, I found myself utterly entranced by the piece to the point where I simply had to stop and listen. Around halfway through the song, this Peter-Pan-esque flute solo enters in a fantastical way, as if we are looking across the water to a magnificent ship on the horizon.  The piece changes for me from near patriotic sounding horns to a more classical underscore. But shortly after, the same violin motif returns, softer this time. Perhaps a decision is made? A goodbye imminent?  Clearly something about this piece tells us that the two characters are star-crossed and cannot be together, but there is hope that they will see each other again, perhaps on the other side.

While this song in its entirety is clearly delineated by the broad emotional context of its inspired scene, perhaps involves a life-altering decision, and carries a fully orchestral ending it is its simplest moments that capture my soul. The piano at the 1:28 fills my heart with the complex mixture of remorse, weightiness, hope, childlike fascination, and wonder. At the time I thought very little about what "that next place" would be for me. I've never had medical complications in my life so significant as I did when this new heart went in. I opted for a Temporary Advanced Directive before the surgery, thinking I wouldn't need the full version. Despite the episodes of sudden cardiac arrest over the years, the bradycardia and CPR I experienced right after transplant (see What is Heart Transplant? for more info) were the closest I have ever felt I have come to dying.

In knowing that that next place could be so close, it makes us hang on to this place that much tighter. And still, despite not truly knowing the context of this song in its original intent, it makes me feel that if anything should happen, despite the terrifying notion of it, in maintaining wonder and hope I am a little less scared.