Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Gift of Music

I met Terry Kelly back in October, when he was the keynote speaker for the Cape to Cabot 2015 road race, which I wrote about HERE.

Upon hearing him speak, I was immediately impressed with Terry's positive outlook and distinct sense of purpose. He is filled with love and hope and he passes that on to anyone who is open to receiving it. His presentation (and his presence) really had an impact on me that day, and I knew that there was a place in my heart for Mr. Terry Kelly.

Terry and I chatted a little bit back in October, and I told him about my son, Brennen. He was very curious about him, and by the end of our conversation, he said that he would love to come and play for Brennen when he is in town again. True to his word, Terry and his wife, Anne paid us a visit this week! What a wonderful Christmas gift!

Terry Kelly writes in the liner notes of his Christmas album, 'Olde Tyme Christmas':

"Christmas has many colours, many sounds, an abundance of fragrances and tastes and, of course, the ever accumulating basket of memories and traditions. All of these awaken a range of feelings and emotions in each of us every Christmas."

"Music has a mystical and wondrous way of resurrecting our senses and memories of Christmases past. It can also play a significant role in creating new memories - both happy and sad."

Terry, your music, your thoughtfulness, and your kind compassion was truly a gift to our family this Christmas.

Terry was very in tune with Brennen's reactions and responses. He spoke gently to him, held his hands, and was very comfortable and engaged with Brennen right from first meeting. He sat close to Brennen, and played his guitar while Brennen's little foot was touching it, letting him feel the vibrations in the instrument.

Brennen loved the music and enjoyed his private performance. These are the meaningful moments I'm always talking about - the moments that make life special. These are the memories I go back to when things get rough, when parenting is hard, when I don't have the answers. I save up these memories in my mind's keepsake box, ready to be accessed when needed (and they will be needed).

I have to say that while we were expecting this afternoon to be a very moving experience for our family, it was clear that it meant a lot to Terry as well, in a way that I hadn't quite anticipated. Terry is soulful, emotional, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. Terry and Anne are my kind of people, and I am honoured now to call them our friends.

In raising a child with a disability, undoubtedly there are challenges, but there are so many blessings, and we seek them out. We can't control a lot of things in life, but we can control how we feel about them, and we can choose to be happy. Meeting Terry Kelly. Having him join us in our home, singing Christmas songs and feeling that even on the coldest of days, we were in the warmest of places. That's what Brennen does for us, over and over again. He is our happy place.


We thought we would give Terry one of our Christmas cards with a thank you message and a photo of our family.. but then I realized that he wouldn't be able to see it. What's the point of a card, I thought, if the receiver couldn't gather any information from it? SO.. we decided to write it in braille! (because how hard could it be, right?!) Andrew and I spent the night researching and downloading information on how to write / make braille, and we totally nailed it!

After several attempts with different methods - one including dots of nail polish (which actually had a lot of potential until some of the dots started running together) - we found that using a ballpoint pen with just the right amount of pressure so as not to poke holes through the paper made perfect braille-sized imprints!

Thank you, Terry, for bringing the gift of music into our home, and for adding to our basket of memories.
I am honoured and humbled, inspired and just - so incredibly grateful.

We will be sure to keep in touch! A new year is coming, and it's gonna be a good one!

1 comment:

  1. God Bless you Julie, Andrew and Brennen and thank you, my very special cousin, Terry Kelly, for helping make such precious memories for this very special family!