Today I Danced
I knew I was playing with fire, or rather, playing Russian Roulet with my heart. Correction: since I was listening to “Beethoven’s Last Night,” by The Transiberian Orchestra, I was playing Russian Roulet with a German composer.
I have severely damaged lungs and a weak heart. All I have heard for the last few months was “Stay down. No activity. Do not overwork your heart—it’s fragile.”
Lately my heart thinks it’s racing in the Kentucky Derby against Sea-Biscuit, or Secretariat. To be honest, I’m surprised my heart even knows about horse races. Maybe it recognizes greatness when it sees it—like the impromptu opera dance I was watching.
Today I saw greatness—my heart, that is. I watched my eight-year-old granddaughter dance and twirl to the opera of, “Beethoven’s Last Night.” I was witnessing something that was absolutely priceless and I could not restrain myself. I had to dance—good ticker or not—I had to dance.
As a former dancer, whose heart still yearns for those days, somehow, I was transported to my younger days when my heart was strong and I could breathe on my own . . . today, I leapt, twirled, sashayed, and shuffle-ball-changed up a storm.
Today, my granddaughter and I performed the most beautiful, miraculous musical ever enacted. The audience, even though unseen, was felt. I suspect we probably had a couple thousand spirits who stopped doing whatever they were doing just to watch the impossible being made possible. Today I danced.
My husband couldn’t watch. He did not want to watch me die on our family room floor. He didn’t need to say anything—my failing heart sensed it. I understood. But, what could I do? Could I pass up the chance to dance with my granddaughter one last time? No.
I told myself if I died, right then and there, I would have died with joy in my heart . . . doing something I loved—dancing with my granddaughters—but something that has been denied me for several years.
Today I danced. My heart pounded out of my chest and I was short of breath. At times I had to sit and watch while Breia carried on with a solo until I could again join in. As my heart pulsated, I knew it was too happy to give out during our makeshift opera. Even if it only had one more beat left in it, it would wait—it would find strength from somewhere . . . for it wanted to dance too.
If dancing today took a year off my life, it was well worth it. Today, my granddaughter and I starred in the best opera ever performed . . . the unseen audience confirmed it. As I struggled for breath, I heard their cheers, “Encore, Encore.”
I sat while I watched my Breia bring the show home with the lullaby for Beethoven. I wish you all could have witnessed it. Today I danced.