Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats is playing at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In this season of loss after experiencing the death of my parents, I went to see a musical that my Mom loved. It was a way to honor the memory of my Mom. And I did something that my parents would have done if they had the opportunity.
“Grief I’ve learned is just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”
It’s so easy to leave me
All alone with my memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is
Look, a new day has begun
Memory from Cats
Mom and Dad
The Jellicle Ball
Last night I went to the Kennedy Center to see Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. Its a musical that is well known and it was also one of my Mom’s favorites. My Dad’s favorite is Les Miserables which I will see when it comes to Washington, D.C. again.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats
Cats is a musical that was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1981. The show is based on T.S. Elliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.” Its about a group of Cats who gather together to see who goes to the Heavyside Layer. Many of the poems were adopted and turned into songs, which Webber wrote the music. The project began in 1977 until its London debut in May of 1981. It carried over to Broadway the following year and was the longest running musical until Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera surpassed it. Today it is the fourth running longest musical surpassed by Chicago and Lion King. Cats features a lot of dancing and one learns about different kinds of Cats. From Bustopher Jones, to Mr Misstoffeless to Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat and more. Cats features what is probably the best known song from a musical that has crossed over into the pop world. The song is called Memory and is from Grizabella. The song is about a cat remembering her younger days and a plea to go to the Heavyside Layer so she can start life anew. Elaine Page performed it originally and Betty Buckley is known for her rendition. Other artists such as Barbara Streisand also recorded it.
Last Time I Saw Cats and my Mom’s Thoughts
The first time I saw Cats was with my Mom and Dad in San Francisco, California. It was in the early 1990’s. Mom adored it and wanted me to see it. My Mom was very creative and used to hold impressive dinner parties for family and friends. Mom liked Cats because of the costumes, makeup and the dancing. She thought it was clever. My Dad was different, his favorite musical was Les Miserables which he adored. Sometimes when I was growing up and my Mom was cleaning she would sing to herself in a playful manner. Memory was one of the tunes she liked to sing. My Mom was a very complex person and this was one component of her.
In Grief Seeing a Musical Mom Would Have Attended
My life has become complicated by the deaths of both my parents. Mom died in April 1, 2017 and Dad died in November 21, 2018. In trying to deal with my Mom’s death my Dad’s brain tumor returned and eventually took his life. This is a period of grief and loss has consisted with also speaking with a grief counselor. Its a period of confusion, pain, disorientation, and having my world turned upside down. Here at this blog I have written regular posts about my parents death and the struggle and hardship about moving forward.
Against this season of loss I learned that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats is coming to the Kennedy Center at Washington, D.C. When I heard that the first thought was that Mom would go see it if she could. Knowing how my Mom loved Cats I decided to purchase a ticket in her honor. In the season of life with adopting to this profound change I decided to see Cats as a way to honor my Mom. This version of Cats is the the new national tour in the United States. So during the show in a seat in the orchestra section I cried thinking of how my Mom would love this, and how she wasn’t here to see this production. Grief as I am learning is strange. One moment you are fine then the next moment you can be weeping. During the show I was mesmerized by the performance of Memory by Keri Rene Fuller. While I enjoyed the song in the back of my mind I was reflecting on how my Mom would clean while humming and singing that song in the house as I was growing up. After the performance another difficult aspect that I realized. I couldn’t call Mom to tell her about the show. In the past I would always do that and she would love to hear about it. This is the third show I have seen since my parents deaths. Its an awkward situation to be in.