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“I lost my grandmother in March 2017 due to complications in dementia and pneumonia; she would have been 91 in April. It felt like some great binding light had been turned off and unplugged. My grandmother had an ability to keep people close, to create parties and gatherings for no other reason than that she wanted to have them. She pulled the best out of everyone she knew.

The week after she passed, my aunt sold her house and the only other family I’ve ever had in the same area moved two states away. My grief manifested in loneliness and longing. I missed her, of course, but I also missed that fastening energy that she had.

I’ve started playing her old accordion. I’m still getting the hang of it, but when I practice, it feels like she’s right there beside me. She had hundreds of pages of sheet music and chord books. She used to tell my brother and I that she could have been a professional player if she’d stayed in Europe. I still miss her every day, but the music helps. It’s a language that she and I have in common and, these days, I’m not lonely anymore.”


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