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A winding road...with a good soundtrack

according2marie's picture
on May 16, 2013 - 5:47pm

I'm Marie & I really do have a tale to tell.

Last week, my friend Sarah sends me an e-mail. She knew that I was planning on going to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia that Saturday morning to buy my ticket for the In The Round show on November 3. Sarah's e-mail surprised me but she said she saw on Facebook that I was planning on this little trip and she had a way for me to save time. Apparently Sarah got an e-mail from the Wells Fargo Center about a pre-sale that started on May 9. Sarah knows how it is to be a huge fan of a music act because even though she herself is not a Grobanite, her mother-in-law is a fan plus Sarah is a huge fan of The Monkees (for you young ones, Google that or ask your parents).

So May 9 rolls around and I knew I had to get up for a doctor's appointment but I got up even earlier just so I knew I wouldn't miss the pre-sale. I was armed with a credit card I borrowed from my older sister (I gave her some money towards it and I was going to help her out with some things to pay off the rest) and hopes that I would get some great seats. At 10:01 AM, I was able to log on and view the purchase screen and by 10:10, I had my ticket!

My story of being a Grobanite is one of intrigue, comfort, and finding friends. For this, we go back six years earlier to the summer of 2007. I was 29 at the time and struggling with a lot of things. I attended a job fair in Mt. Laurel, NJ that day and I was surprised to see my mom and aunt Diane (my mom's older sister) out front after the event. The three of us were going to go shopping and to lunch and we were driving down Route 73 when my aunt all of a sudden says to me, "Marie, have you ever heard of Josh Groban?" I told her I heard of the name but not of his work. She then quickly popped in a copy of his debut CD in the car stereo and before I knew it, I was just mesmerized. I never heard anything that beautiful or amazing in my life and I wanted to hear more.

A few months later on my 30th birthday, I was in Target and I picked up that CD along with copies of Closer and Awake. I later upgraded the last two with the special editions that I found at a local Barnes & Noble (I gave the two I bought at Target to my aunt as she didn't have them) but it was like I was instantly thrown into a world that I would find I belonged in: The wonderful world of the Grobanite.

I bought Noel a few months before Christmas and to this day, it's the ONLY Christmas CD I can get away with playing around my parents since my dad normally loathes Christmas music (long story). I bought Illuminations the next year which ended up giving me strange looks from the check-out girl at Target because I bought two copies. One was for me and the other a gift for my aunt.

I didn't think too much about this until 2012 when my life transformed. In April 2012, I was diagnosed with a nerve related disorder known as Fibromyalgia (Google, that kids because it's a confusing thing to explain). In May my life came crashing down.

First I had a serious falling out with family members and their friends over trivial matters. Then Sarah (yep, the same Sarah that would tip me off to the pre-sale a year later) ended up in a car accident while her and her husband were driving to church. Thankfully Sarah survived but when her husband showed me the photos of the wreck, I knew it was a miracle.

But my family wouldn't survive what would come next. Around the same time of Sarah's accident, another one of my aunts was getting sick. This aunt was my dad's sister and while most of the falling out was with family on my dad's side, this aunt never gave up on me. For weeks, my dad and I were at the hospital practically every single day because she had a stroke. Her only other visitors were three out of her six children. Yeah, a few family members came on occasion but for the most part, it was the seven of us.

She ended up going to a rehab a month after the stroke but the rehab sadly did nothing. She developed an infection and was back in the hospital in August 2012. By then it was clear that she was going to lose the fight. Her kids shipped her to a hospice in Philadelphia and she died on September 28, 2012, one week before her 65th birthday.

The day she died started out normal. I went to my normal volunteer work at the hospital and went home. My mom told me then and I was so upset. That day I was so numb that I just sat there with my iPod and all of a sudden "To Where You Are" came on. Now this was the song that turned me into a fan but it just took on new meaning and total comfort.

2012 ends and 2013 picks up where the last year leaves off. I end up losing another relative on my dad's side. This time it's one of his sisters-in-law. We go to the funeral and it was just so cold. The priest (who is my parish priest) asked me to help him with Communion during the funeral Mass. Sadly, not that many family members came to me for Communion. I didn't think it was grief but rather the fact that I was the black sheep for the petty reasons several of them stopped talking to me in May 2012.

In the midst of all this, I get my lovely package from Warner Brothers Records. My copy of All That Echoes! I quickly put it on my iPod and fall instantly in love with the song Brave. For me, it's an empowering song because of all the unhappiness in my life. You see, aside from the family drama I faced in the last year, I was a bullying and mental abuse victim as a kid. Kids would bully me constantly and the adults who could change that would just encourage it either by not stopping it or simply bullying me themselves. It would go on for many years and got worse as I got older. I guess you can say that the mess with my family was just my breaking point.

I go to All That Echoes Live since it was being broadcasted at a local movie theater and I have the time of my life. I then think to myself, "I need to see this wonderful human being live in concert the next time he comes to Philadelphia." Oh how did I know that time would be coming soon....and sooner than I thought.

Just days before I heard about the In The Round tour and before that e-mail from Sarah, I had the final falling out with my dad's side of the family that would be the straw that really broke me. I posted an observation I had about society on Facebook and one of my cousins translated that as an attack on family. She then posted about this on Facebook to her friends and they all made fun of me and said I had "mental problems." This cousin then de-friended me and I didn't really know at the time I said this but I was like, "I see someone has de-friended me and guess what? I don't care because I know who I am and I don't think I need to change that." Her sister then took that status and put it on her Facebook page and several of her friends (and the cousin in question) started ridiculing me. Needless to say, several people lost my friendship on Facebook that night.

I was heartbroken and so depressed and then just like that September day, something would happen. I heard about the In The Round tour and I thought that I couldn't afford tickets. I then realized that the cheapest seats for the Philly show was $49.50. I had $40 saved and my mom said she'd give me the extra $10. I was happy and was going to get my dad to take me to the Wells Fargo Center (since I really don't like driving in South Philly) on Saturday morning. Then that Wednesday, I got the e-mail from Sarah and when I told my mom & sister, my sister was like, "Give me the $40 and I'll let you use my Visa card. Also, get the next best seats and we'll work something out on the difference." The next best seats were $69.50. I got those! Of course my sister wishes she could have given me some more money to get the most expensive seats but at least she's happy I got the ticket.

For a lot of people, this would be just another concert but for me it's much more. In the last year, I was in the worst depression. I mean, I lost more family than the two that have passed on and the only family that I can talk to live too far away to where the only contact I have with them is phone, text, and Facebook. My circle of friends gotten smaller. My health has been rather crazy. On top of Fibromyalgia, we found out in April of this year that I have the beginnings of some spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease. I am getting steroid epidural injections as we speak for my lower back. The only thing that's keeping me going aside from the love and support of my parents and the few family and friends that I kept has been the wonderful music that comes from that amazing singer we know as Josh Groban.

As I said, Brave is a bit of an anthem for me. I even have that as my ringtone. That song also saved me from making a mistake. I was close to giving up and one night I heard the song and it just made me think that I can't give up just yet. Other songs have done that to me too. You Are Loved is the song that comes to my mind a lot. After my aunt's death in September 2012, I kept getting Facebook messages with links to YouTube. All the links were that of the video for You Are Loved.

So November 3, 2013 is going to be a day that I will love. Since it's a Sunday, I'll be at Mass that morning but that evening, I will be having the time of my life. It's also my first concert as a Grobanite (that is if you don't count ATE Live), so to all those who are going to the show in Philly, be gentle.

It's been a long, winding road indeed but at least the soundtrack sounds great. I don't know what the future will bring but let's hope that soundtrack stays as good as it is now.

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