You never know when it will be the last time

npr-tiny-desk-contest

Our van is back on the road. After sitting in our garage for the past couple weeks waiting for the installment of a new starter, our groovin’ family car has resumed its daily trek from house to school and back again.

My phone that offered a 50-50 chance of sound on a phone call has returned to its maker and a new (to me) one is now in place.

With my phone apps slowly being added to my phone as I realized their absence (whoops, didn’t check my Yahoo email for a few days), things are slowly returning to normal.

Well, maybe normal isn’t the right word, as Passover starts tomorrow night and these past few days have included preparing the house for the holiday: cleaning out cupboards, discarding expired items from the refrigerator, preparing for our seder.

Last year at this time, our downstairs was torn up after flood damage and we didn’t have a working kitchen. Another year, our refrigerator went out on the day before Passover. Yet another year, my office was relocating and the cleaning out of office took place at the same time Passover preparations were happening at home.

Of course, nothing compares to the days before Passover in 1997 when my mother was in the hospital dying from pancreatic cancer. That was undoubtedly the worst one ever. I lived in Los Angeles at that time and flew back and forth every weekend to spend a long weekend with her. Then I’d return to L.A. for a three-day work week then fly back home.

I did this back-and-forth for about a month then the weekend before Passover, I decided to stay in L.A. to prepare my house for the holiday and she died that Sunday. My sister had already left town and it made me wonder if perhaps my mom had wanted us not to be there. Fortunately, she wasn’t alone when the time came, my dad and one of her friends were in the room.

In a daze, I flew back to Arizona with my aunt and then-husband for the funeral the next morning and sat shiva at my dad’s house for 18 minutes before flying home for the first seder that night. (You don’t sit shiva on a holiday so it was a very abbreviated shiva.)

The following night we hosted a seder at our house with seven people. According to my Passover journal, our oven was broken so I’m not sure how that all came together.

Each year I think of my mom as I make my Passover preparations. Although I wasn’t raised with the process of ridding the house of chametz (leavened food) before the holiday, we had seders every year, avoided bread or other obvious chametz and my mom made special meals.

One thought that haunts me each year is that my mom didn’t know the previous year that it would be her last Passover. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March and died on April 20.

It’s a reminder that none of us really know when it’ll be the last time we do anything.

My mom was 52 when she died, an age that creeps closer every year.

All of this was on my mind last year when I wrote the song “You Never Know.”  I thought about it again when I heard about this year’s NPR Tiny Desk Contest, which is a contest where musicians and songwriters perform a song in a video that features a desk. Last year, I started a video for my song “Good Intentions” then I chickened out and didn’t submit it.

This year, at the last minute, I decided to submit a video to this year’s contest because I don’t really know if I’ll be able to submit a song next year. Not to sound too morbid or anything, it could be something as simple as NPR deciding not to have the contest again.

The contest winner gets to play a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR in Washington, D.C., and tour the United States. Obviously, I don’t expect to win. There are thousands of entries from SO many talented, experienced musicians and performers and I am only in the beginning stages of my songwriting journey. But I do know one thing for sure: If I didn’t enter, then I’d have absolutely no chance of winning.

Lyrics

I don’t like the beach, but I still touch my toes to the water
Feel the breeze on my face, appreciate the place ‘cuz I oughta
Walkin’ barefoot on the sand isn’t what I planned but I’ll do it
You never know how things will go ’til you pursue it

You never know when this will be the last time
You never know if you’ll pass this way again
Don’t take for granted the circumstances that led you here
Now that you’re here, jump in

I didn’t want to go to the party but I committed
I put my party dress on tho my heart wasn’t in it
After it was done, I realized I had fun, I admit it
You never know how things will go ’til you begin it

You never know when this will be the last time
You never know if you’ll pass this way again
Don’t take for granted the circumstances that led you here
Now that you’re here, jump in

A medley of moments
Composed over time
Live life with boldness
There’s no way to rewind

You never know when it will be the last time
You never know if you’ll pass this way again
Don’t take for granted the circumstances that led you here
Now that you’re here, jump in.

© 2017 Leisah Woldoff

yahrzeit candle

 

 

 

 

 

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