THE LOST NOTES (Guest Post by Victo Dolore)

I am truly honored that Victor Dolore has agreed to guest post for me today.  Please join me in welcoming the good doctor to Cordelia’s Mom’s house:





By Victo Dolore

My grandmother’s spinet piano sat unplayed after her death for over a decade. My grandfather had given it to her many years before, and it was her most prized possession.

My grandfather tried to kill himself every day after her funeral, smoking three packs of cigarettes a day. If you asked him he would tell you why he wouldn’t stop smoking: “Because I want to die.” He worked hard at it. When he did eventually pass, I found out that he had wanted me to have that piano.

There was no place really to put the piano, and about half a dozen keys were stuck or would not play. Still, it was my grandmother’s –  and my grandfather wanting me to have it was his way of saying “I love you” one last time. I couldn’t bear to have it lying on a garbage heap somewhere. I had to have it. Pianos are exceedingly heavy and difficult to move, and it took thousands of dollars to get it even close to playable again. Some of the ivory was chipped, making the keys jagged. That just could not be fixed.

Then, I stopped playing. It sat unused in my house for over a decade until my son started using it for his own practice.

Side step for a moment…

For over twenty years I have searched for a particular arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon in D that I played for my high school talent show. My best friend played the flute in a duet. It was spectacular as we practiced it. In fact, we were a favorite to win the show after we pulled it off flawlessly in the rehearsal. I floated in those notes in my sleep, my fingers knew it so well.

At the time of the actual performance, however, I froze midway through. For maybe twenty seconds (it felt like an eternity) I just sat there at the grand piano keyboard, panicked. I have no idea why I lost my place in the music. Finally, I recognized where we were and I picked back up. Our chances to win were blown, and my friend and I never played together in public again.

That music has haunted me, though.

It was the most achingly beautiful piece of music I had ever heard or played. While even now my fingers still remember parts of it, there are large chunks of the melody that have disappeared from my mind. When I realized that the notes were slipping away from me, I went looking for the physical sheet music. It had been lost. For the past twenty years I have tried to find it, purchasing or looking at every arrangement I could get my hands on but none of them was ever the exact right one.

I needed that exact right arrangement.  All of the others felt like shallow impostors.

Last night I picked up one of those not quite right arrangements and found that it was now somehow good enough. I had lost the detailed memory of the old arrangement to the point that I could now replace it with this. I stumbled through it several times, emotions flooding back. In the process I could recognize how badly out of tune the piano actually was, just like my memories.

The last time I had played the Canon I was full of hope for the future but still wallowing in the shame of a botched performance. The shame is now gone, I can just enjoy the piece for its simple beauty again.

But this piano. I cannot keep this piano if my son is going to keep learning. It has to be replaced. I tell myself that it is a thing, not the person, that I am letting go of that the memories will last forever. But if I am honest with myself the memories won’t last forever. I mourn them like I mourn the loss of my sheet music and my piano and my grandmother and my grandfather and my youth. I mourn these things like the billions of other people across the face of this Earth mourn their own losses.

We are all the same. Moving on, marching forward, letting go.



Victo Dolore and I love to hear from our readers.  You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at or


Images by Victo Dolore

This entry was posted in Guest Posters, Relationships, That's Life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to THE LOST NOTES (Guest Post by Victo Dolore)

  1. Victo Dolore says:

    Thank you so much for letting me guest post for you! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What a lovely, bittersweet, post. It is amazing how a physical object can contain so many abstractions and memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elyse says:

    What a beautiful piece (the story and the song).

    I inherited my paternal grandparents’ bed — given to them by my great-grandfather, a German cabinet maker who hand-carved the head and footboards. My father was likely conceived under those scrolls. I treasure it. But when I go, no one in the will want it. It is a full-size bed in an age of Queen and Kings. It makes me very sad. But for now, I have it. And I love it.

    I wish there were a way that you could restore the piano — that piece of your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The Lost Notes  | Behind the White Coat

  5. willowdot21 says:

    I am like you, hanging on to inanimate objects somehow giving them feelings… I cannot bear to give up on somethings. But memories live in us, if they fade it is so we can fit in new ones!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. swo8 says:

    I have played Pachebel’s Canon in D for weddings. I play the flute. Do you have a satisfactory copy or would you like to look at mine? It is a wonderful pieces of music for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. christinadrh says:

    A beautiful story. I have a different perspective on death and “stuff.” I have always felt that when people die, they are closer to us, not gone. ‘Stuff’ that has died has served its purpose as well. Inspiration that was your grandmother’s, grandfather’s, yours, and now your son’s, that’s a good life. The inspiration will live and grow and continue to create. If you notice, the piano makes you feel sad, it no longer serves it’s purpose, to make beautiful music, the harmony is gone. Humans are here to create, to move forward, not dwell in a past that is gone forever. I may sound cold but I’m not. I truly feel we never really own anything in life, it’s only ours for a short time, as it should be.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This takes me back to a theme that has haunted me since Summer. People will stop remembering us at some point. I even wrote a Macabre Macaroni about it. I have my great grandfather’s wooden fife. It’s pretty cool, but I never met the man. It will mean less to my children. (It’s easier to move around than a piano, I’ll grant you that.) In this case, the man is forgotten, but the item survives.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. quiall says:

    Things become the memories that we cherish. We can touch a thing. Memories only touch our hearts.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. merrildsmith says:

    A lovely post, Victo.
    My piano, that I seldom play, was the piano I grew up with–a baby grand. Its ivory keys are also chipped. Supposedly I did it as a toddler, but I don’t remember this at all! A piano tuner who knows his stuff did replace some of the inside parts. Have you had someone look at it. If it’s a good piano, it might be worth getting parts replaced, and you will still have it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a great story – I really felt for the child you were frozen at the piano mid performance. When I was a young single mother of five, (very young) I sold my dead mothers piano to pay for a years worth of electricity. The bill was very overdue. My children were cold. I sold the piano without batting an eye. I sold everything I inherited from Mum (except her rings, a very old marble statue of a dying saint Cecilia and a small worthless oil painting) to keep my little family going and would do so again. What it taught me though, other than the outrageous cost of electricity, was that I can fit everyTHING I really love with into two suitcases. And not one of my children has ever said “Mum, i so wish you had not sold that piano.” They just don’t care. They have forgotton it even existed. love love c

    Liked by 1 person

    • Victo Dolore says:

      I have no doubt I would do the same given the need for electricity. You were brave. And you are right, things (even memories) are nothing compared to the here and now, particularly in the context of survival. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Just Plain Ol' Vic says:

    Wonderful guest post!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.
    Shine On

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Just beautiful. Stirs a heartfelt memory for me…from a past post. Please don’t feel obligated…but I thought I’d share. Thanks to both of you for this guest post. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  15. JoAnna says:

    Someone gave me a very old, very out of tune, piano several years ago. We split the cost of moving it. I was hoping maybe my daughter and I would learn to play. After a few lessons, we didn’t keep up with it, though we would play around with making up tunes and picking out simple songs. A couple years ago, my husband took the old piano apart. He made a table from one piece for prayer candles at our church. I’m hoping we can still use some of the pieces to make something. I’ve seen picture frames made from piano keys. If it’s really outlived it’s usefulness as a piano, maybe it could be made into something else.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Beautifully written and it mad me sad to think that you will get rid of the piano. Please have an expert look at it and compare replacement parts with the cost of a new piano. These old pianos are irreplaceable but that’s only my opinion and maybe a few other people.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. DM says:

    Victo, I too froze at a band competition, I was playing a solo piece on a trumpet (probably about 9th grade) 15 to 20 kids sitting in while I played in front of a judge…@ some point, my lips went dry/ (which is not a good thing when you’re playing a trumpet) 🙂 I totally lost it. mind went blank, and honestly can’t remember if I finished the piece or not. And on this topic of memories/ stuff…we are right now attempting to go through boxes and boxes of keepsakes/ and memories in an effort to de-clutter. It is like pulling teeth.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. You can certainly pass on the memories of the piano to your son. Pachebel’s Canon in D is one of my favorites but I am still struggling to play it. I have a piano that I have had since I was 16 and will pass it on to my daughter. Lovely post and memories!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. joey says:

    That was lovely. Perhaps when you are ready to let go of the piano, your sheet music will come to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. This has to be your most touching post. So beautifully personal!


  21. Have you ever heard of a play called The Piano Lesson by August Wilson? It’s about an heirloom piano. I think it would speak to you in a way that most audiences can’t appreciate.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Love this story….♡✧( ु•⌄• )

    Liked by 1 person

  23. sassandsauce says:

    This post is so touching and so wonderfully written too! I feel for you Victo. Can’t you perhaps use the shell of the piano to create some other article of furniture, or keep the piano as an antique? Maybe you can still save it. I also have a pair of diamond traditional earrings belonging to my great-great-grandmother and handed over from generation to generation. Thing is they are too big to fit into my ear-piercing, and I cannot ever hope to use them. My mum wants me to use the diamonds to make some other item of jewellery, but I cant seem to let go. It’s a family heirloom. Any ideas readers?


    • Victo Dolore says:

      Thank you! Space is at a premium in my house. If I use the wood for something it would have to be much smaller. The earrings sound lovely! Even if you cannot wear them, having them in their original setting adds more meaning. Plus, they are smaller than a piano. They will fit nicely in a drawer somewhere if you decided to keep them intact.

      Liked by 2 people

  24. Now that was a good read. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  25. lbeth1950 says:

    Maybe you can have a part of it turned into a piece of art. I cherish my grandmother’s things

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Pingback: Addicts Are Us | Cordelia's Mom, Still

  27. Violet says:

    Is it real ivory? Because if it is there’s some import law thing that means you’re stuck with it forever because of the regulations on Ivory. I only know this because my piano teacher know someone that happened to lol


  28. Beautiful, Victo. Always full of heart, but this is one of your best. Perhaps because you have drawn from the roots of memory and home; but knew they had to give way to the budding of tomorrow.


    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.