Contributor: Beverly A. Jensen, Ph.D. Jensen is the author of Letter to my Daughters: A Legacy, available at Amazon.com. She is president of WomensMedicineBowl.com. Experience the music of Luc & the Lovingtons at https://www.facebook.com/lucandthelovingtons
It was a year ago this month that I first heard the music of Luc & the Lovingtons. My daughter, Leila, had met him and heard his band at a concert at Doe Bay in the Washington San Juan Islands. Luc was the new sweetheart of her long-time best friend, Ndidi.
Now I really don’t pay much attention to young music groups, but this music captured my heart. I don’t even know what genre it falls into—but Luc & the Lovingtons made me want to dance, to play—it gave me the joy and hope of a first kiss.
Recently, while visiting the Pacific Northwest, my daughter and I joined a large, happy crowd enjoying the band, and we “danced like an elephant” on the bandstand. It was a joyful evening. Later that night, over dinner, I learned that Luc’s dear friend and band member Felipe Canete had died of a heart attack two months earlier, age 36.
A few days after the concert and dinner, Ndidi and friends of the band were giving a birthday party for Felipe’s widow, Katy. Leila and I went to the house an hour before it was to start to help string up lights and colorful streamers in the backyard to create a happy space during a time of such sorrow for friends, the widow and infant son. We couldn’t stay for the party but we wanted to lend a hand somehow.
While we were setting up candles, one friend told the story of how Felipe had been leading a group of high school students, and they had just been served a lunch of soup.
Catching them with mouths opened and spoons posed to ladle into their bowls, Felipe said, “Let’s pause a moment and give thanks for each individual who made this soup possible. For the farmers who sowed the seed and nurtured the tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, and onions; for the workers who harvested the crops and carried them to the trucks that brought them to the store, where we bought them…” The young people’s mouths hung open in awe of Felipe’s simple prayer of thanksgiving.
As we were saying goodbye, Leila, Ndidi, and I hugged, and I said, “When everyone arrives, have them join in a circle and each person tell a wish for her birthday. Have the wishes be about a joyful future, not the sadness everyone is feeling now.”
Ndidi pulled back from our hug, “That’s a beautiful idea. That’s just what Felipe would have said.”
As I walked away that warm, summer evening, I realized, “Felipe did say that. His spirit was there for her birthday.” I had given no forethought to that directive to Ndidi. As I hugged her, a beautiful young woman I have known since her early teens, the words just came forth through me.
This was truly a birth-day for the rest of Katy’s life. All birthdays are so—we only need to remember.