The Unexpected Present


Dealing With Uncertainty


I am heading over to see Yuri today, Day 9 in the ICU, still sedated and on a ventilator. I read an article (House & Garden, May 2021) that “when the world feels scary or uncertain, a sense of purpose can ground us.” So, I’m writing. And praying. And buying cat food. And remembering that my bird needs clean water and birdseed. And that Yuri and I have a wonderful circle of friends sending good vibes and healing prayers. I will tell him when I see him.

Three weeks ago it was Easter Sunday. Yuri and I were at breakfast sharing traditional fare when I stopped my usual banter and noticed his unusually quiet mood. He ate very little of the massive amount I made. I still cooked for a hundred on holidays despite it being only the two of us, a trait from my mother who felt it soothed her soul to feed the world and all creature inhabitants.

We noted that it was my nephew, Christopher’s birthday who shared a love of gardening, art appreciation, encouraging his own young children to make art. For the first time, Yuri mentioned that it was Kvitka Cisyk’s birthday as well. It surprised me but then, the longer we spend together talking, things pop up from our past lives that provide another layer of complexities in the wine of life.


Kvitka, professionally known as K.C. Cisyk, was a beautiful and extremely talented person. It’s no wonder she and Yuri were drawn together in their youths, singing and performing together from their summer camp days to early recording sessions in New York City in the early 1970s.

Their roads diverged– Yuri went on to become a founding member of Kinderhook and K.C. went on to sing on commercials “Have You Driven a Ford, Lately” leading to a hit song, You Light Up My Life that was eventually recorded by Debbie Boone. She succumbed to breast cancer early in her life. I believe the song Yuri wrote, I’ll Always Remember Your Name was a quiet personal dedication to someone who meant a lot to him.


Yuri performed this tune at the start of the pandemic, a year ago, and we recently decided it belonged on the album just put out Undiscovered Country. Sometimes you don’t know why things fall into place the way they do, but when we worked on getting the lineup of songs, it was a natural fit. No need for any other explanations.

Everyone has someone whose name will always be remembered. Music is part of the art of healing and I play music for Yuri during the time I am with him as well as reading the good wishes being sent to him. It helps so much. Thank you.

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