Van’s Requiem

It’s been a year and half since I found out that Pedro, the Spanish young man whom we hosted as an exchange student in our home was a composer.  Since that time, his music has become an integral part of my life, including the culmination of recording his music and putting it online.

A few days after my father died, I received an email from Pedro with “Van’s Requiem” attached.  The email merely said, “You know what I can do right now from Spain, is composing.”  I let the tears flow.

A requiem is a musical composition associated with death and mourning.  When I played “Van’s Requiem” for my step-mother, she told me I couldn’t keep this song to myself and requested that I play it  at the memorial service.  She also said my father would’ve liked it.  And I agree.

My father enjoyed music.  His musical interest started in grade school when he was taught to play the violin by a nun.  He didn’t like the lessons much or her instruction, but he did love music.  He soon took to learning other instruments on his own.  He could play the string bass, clarinet, saxophone, accordion and the organ.  He also had his own band, Bud & His Buddies, for a few years in the late 1930’s to earn some extra money after high school.

Dad passed that love of music down to his family.  My older brother played Dad’s saxophone in school as well as some of Van’s grandchildren, including both of my sons.  For my sons anyway, the saxophone was their secondary instrument.  It was a small way that they got to connect with their grandfather.

I took a few piano lessons in college, but by that time, it was just too difficult for me.  I turned my love for music into an easier way to enjoy it—by working at the college radio station as a disc jockey and eventually becoming the Music Director.  It was a far cry from reading sheet music or performing in recitals, but fun nonetheless.

When Dad met Pedro last summer, they had an impromptu music gathering at the piano and organ.  Pedro played some of his own compositions and attempted to play whatever sheet music my father put in front of him.   It was entertaining to watch and even more precious to me when I watched the videos after my father recently passed away.

The day after Dad passed away, I sent an email to Pedro to tell him the sad news.  I was shocked to notice that they met exactly one year ago—July 10, 2011.  It was hard to watch those videos.  My father’s health deteriorated a great deal since then, but it didn’t seem as noticeable until I watched those videos.

Dad & Pedro doing a sound-check on the family organ, 7/10/11.

I am incredibly glad I recorded that time between Pedro and my father.  One of the songs Dad asked Pedro to play was “The Old Rugged Cross”.  Unfortunately Pedro didn’t know that song.  One year later, I found out that song was Dad’s favorite hymn.  We closed his memorial service with it.

The service was opened with “Van’s Requiem.” I know that on that day one year ago when this relationship was developed, the basis for “Van’s Requiem” was also being developed.  The ripple effect of that encounter had eternal consequences.  I’m sure my father was tapping his toes to his own personal song.

“Van’s Requiem” © 2012 Pedro González Arbona

Indeed music is an integral part of my life.  It has created memories that are priceless to me.  And along the way, it has grown my faith too.

Leave a comment


  1. Ardis, how wonderful the way God brought this all together! He is constantly orchestrating things beyond our wildest dreams!


  2. Thanks, Denise! Yes, indeed! I’d be lost without Him conducting my life For this season of my life He has given me some pretty wild dreams.


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    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

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