My Grand Baby Grand

“My mother bought it secondhand from a silent movie star
It was out of tune but still I learned to play
And with each note we both would smile forgetting who we are
And all the pain would simply fly away”

Well, my mother did not buy our piano second hand. In fact, it was the piano she grew up playing at her Grandmother’s house. When I first started to play the piano, I started truly learning on this baby grand and it was a little out of tune.  But Mom and I would play together and we would enjoy a couple minutes of melodic harmony before refacing the reality of our day.

“Through missing keys and broken strings the music was our own
Until the day we said our last goodbyes
The baby grand was sent away
A child all alone, to pray somebody else would realize
That something secondhand and broken still can make a pretty sound
Even if it doesn’t have a place to live
Oh, the words are still unspoken now that Mama’s not around
But that Secondhand White Baby Grand still has something beautiful to give”

When my Grammy moved to Texas (finally) we then had two pianos in our house. My mom and I would play together, me on the upright and her on the baby grand. We’d play Christmas songs and hymns on days where we needed the music most. When my mom died, the upright was moved out of my control, and the baby grand was sent to a friends house to help us store it until I was more settled.  They were kind do store it over the last eight years. Even though the play on it was limited during that time, I knew it still had life and music left in it.

“Until we found a way to find a home
So now I wake up every day and see her standing there
Just waiting for a partner to compose”

This past Sunday, we moved my baby grand into my in laws house. It is one step closer to being back to where I can actually play it every day.


“And I wish my mother still could hear that sound beyond compare
I’ll play her song till everybody knows
That something secondhand and broken still can make a pretty sound
Don’t we all deserve a family room to live
Oh, the words can’t stay unspoken until everyone has found”

When we moved the piano and got it all set up, we started talking with our piano technician about what work the piano would need in order have it back in tune. He gave us a run down, but said the piano as a whole was in great condition. The keyboard needs some aesthetic work to put some ivory pieces back on the piano as well as to make them whiter. There was a lot of dust inside the piano of years and years (more than 8) of dust built up under the strings. And it still needed to be tuned, probably several times. Someone had it restrung at some point, so the strings looked in good condition. Even with all of this work needed, I was able to sit down once again at my piano and play the one song that I hold in my memory after 9 years of not being able to sit down and play regularly.  All of the memories of my childhood came rushing back.  Not only was this a fixture of musical heaven in our house, the piano as a fixture itself in our Grammy’s house held memories.

The next day, our technician came back to the house to tune the piano to see where we needed to go from there.  When I received videos of my Father in Law sitting with Norbert, our technician, they played a C note for me, and it sounded like a C.  They kept sending me videos of how much better the piano sounded as Norbert would play songs for recordings.  It was beautiful to watch the transformation of my passed down baby grand, and oh do I wish my mom could hear it.

“That Secondhand White Baby Grand that still has something beautiful to give
I still have something beautiful to give.”

My piano and I have been on a journey throughout my life. Even in it’s imperfect state, its music brought constant joy.  Now, after years apart, we get to be reunited to play together again. Part of our grief journey is not just about our loved one that we have lost. Our grief journey also includes memories and treasures we may lose and find again. What are some of those memories and treasures for you?

Lyrics from today’s post are from “Second Hand White Baby Grand” featuring Megan Hilty from the SMASH cast on the “Bombshell” soundtrack. 

Published by Bryna Talamantez

LMFT specializing in grief counseling for children, teens, adults and families.

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