Gonna miss my chosen family

I swear, when I listen to an Elton John album for the first time, there’s usually one song that hits particularly close to home, that tugs at my heartstrings, that does that whole “soundtrack to my life” thing. In the case of The Lockdown Sessions, there are actually two: I’m Not Gonna Miss You and Chosen Family.

I wanted to smash the two song titles together into a title for this post – “I’m Not Gonna Miss My Chosen Family” – but that just didn’t sound right.

The first time I heard I’m Not Gonna Miss You, I was in tears. My Mom (like Glen Campbell) battled Alzheimer’s. It’s tremendously sad. But to have the forethought to write this song and to realize that even in such sadness, there are blessings…I’m just taken aback. (I may not remember you, but because of that, I won’t be able to miss you).

If I may be allowed, I could see that with my Mom. Towards the end, she may not have remembered us, but she still smiled. She may not have been able to speak, but for a while she could still sing, and then she could still hum. And through it all, she still smiled. Talk about blessings amidst sadness.

This song could not have said it better. (Thank you, Glen Campbell). And Elton’s “duet” of I’m Not Gonna Miss You, although (rightfully) simple, is still heartbreaking.

As for Chosen Family, a very dear and long-time friend of mine passed away just a few weeks ago. My heart is still hurting, so when I heard this song for the first time (and every time since), I think of her.

We don’t need to be related to relate
We don’t need to share genes or a surname
You are
You are
My chosen family

I called her my “fourth sister” because she was, indeed. She was not only my friend, but my confidante. She was an only child, and I know she would have treasured having a sister. Her eyes lit up seeing my sisters and I together. She reveled in it, soaking it all up.

Funny, she was a huge Elton John fan in high school just like me. Stories are told that her walls were plastered with EJ posters, and she kept a scrapbook of all things Elton. She was also the person who arranged for me to meet Bernie Taupin at an art exhibition several years ago. Six degrees.

Chosen Family is such a beautiful song, too. I think Rina’s and Elton’s voices meld so well, and I love the drama of this track.

We shared so much over so many years, some tears, mostly happiness. There have been lots of tears recently, but now it’s time to celebrate her and our friendship.

Open a bottle, it’s time we celebrate
Who you were, who you are
We’re one and the same

Here’s to you, Aristea. You are, you are, my chosen family.