This weekend I watched the recent episode of 60 Minutes, primarily to listen to the interview with the Facebook Whistle Blower.
I’m glad I kept watching to the final segment featuring Anderson Cooper’s story on the legendary performer, Tony Bennett.
The excellent piece had me near tears at the end and admittedly, I’m not a cryer!
In August, Mr. Bennett and Lady Gaga played Radio City Music Hall on his 95th birthday. The most amazing thing was not that he performed brilliantly at this age, but that he has been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease for the past five years, and it is now advancing.
The 60 Minutes crew was afforded the chance to follow Mr. Bennett in the week leading up to the performance. While it was evident that he was struggling to remember things, the minute the piano started playing, he changed.
In one of the final sessions leading up to the event, he sang for over an hour without notes or lyrics; all from his memory.
When he took the stage in New York, he was transformed into the iconic crooner. Mr. Bennett sang over a dozen songs from memory and received countless standing ovations.
After his solo set, he introduced Lady Gaga by name, which she says was the first time he called her by name in a long time, even though they rehearsed together in the previous days and have been friends for years.
That anecdote took me back nearly six years ago when on one of the final days that I saw my mom awake and alert before she passed, she introduced me to another resident as “my son.” Twice. I don’t think in the previous two years she either called me by name or acknowledged who I was.
As we head down the “Back Nine” of life, we have no idea when our final rounds are being played or when those of our parents and other family members are.
The most important lesson I learned with my own experience is that simply doing your best to embrace the moments and put people in a position to feel happy and loved is good enough. We would ask as much for ourselves.
The August performance with his friend Lady Gaga most certainly will be his final one. And if it is, what a way to bring down the house on a career and life.
We should all be so fortunate to do the same both for others and ourselves.
Quote of the Week:
“To me, life is a gift, and it’s a blessing to just be alive. And each person should learn what a gift it is to be alive no matter how tough things get.”
~ Tony Bennett
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