Monday, August 29, 2011

If Ever I Cease To Love

Six years ago this day changed my world. An ill wind named Katrina blew into New Orleans and forever altered the lives of too many. I keep thinking I will one day be able to look at this day and it will be simply a bad memory. Not yet. It is still very raw and real and alive. 

The levees failed in more than one spot in New Orleans. Lives were drowned, altered and forever changed. I chronicled that day in depth here. I won't rehash the sad story again. It doesn't help to retell the tale. Katrina changed my life...but life goes on. Today I wear my heart on my sleeve and a fleur de lis around my neck. I miss my parents, but I'm so grateful they won't have to relive that experience every year. 

"If Ever I Cease To Love" is the theme song for the Rex carnival organization. It is a song that is played at one time or another during a carnival ball. It is silly and nonsensical but it makes me happy. It reminds me of the carefree times in New Orleans pre-Katrina. Of carnival balls and dancing until the break of dawn... Here are a few of the lines penned by the heavyweight musical genius that also composed "The Daring Young Man On The Flying Trapeze", George Leybourne. I'll hum this tune today to keep me remembering the happy times, the good times growing up in 'The City That Care Forgot'! It's called If Ever I Cease To Love, and the chorus is silly, the verses non-sensical. So if anyone else is feeling a bit sad today hum this little ditty and remember that Love is what makes the world a better place.

 If Ever I Cease To Love                                  

In a house, in a square, in a quadrant,
In a street, in a lane, in a road.
Turn to the left, on the right hand,
you see my true love's abode.
I go there a courting,and cooing to my love like a dove,
And swearing on my bend-ed knee
If ever I cease to love,
May sheepsheads grow on apple trees,
If ever I cease to love.
If ever I cease to love,
If ever I cease to love
May the moon be turned to green cream cheese,
If ever I cease to love

She can sing, she can play on the piano,
She can jump, she can dance, she can run.
For she's a wonderful girlie,
She's all of them rolled into one.
I adore her beauty, she's like an angel dropped from above
If ever I cease to love,
May the fish get legs, and the cows lay eggs,
If I ever cease to love,

If I ever cease to love
May we all turn into cats and dogs, If I ever cease to love

Below is a version I found on You Tube of the song. It shows the seals of many of the carnival organizations displayed on the lakefront at the Mardi Gras Fountain.It is typically played at a faster, 'jazzier'  pace at the balls to encourage a merrier mood!

To all my loved let's remember how important it is to never cease to love and live joyously!


Shelly said...

Sush: I was remembering Katrina this morning. For a while, it had looked like it was going to turn to us, then instead of floundering out in the Gulf, it made that sickening turn into New Orleans. I'll always remember that day, and of the scores of New Orleanians who came into my part of Texas in the aftermath. We comforted them and loved them, just as I know they would have us. My heart is with you and all who wear the fleur de lis today.

Sush said...

> is the kind hearted and loving friends in the world like you that keep despair at bay. Thank you for welcoming those refugees...they could have easily been one of my loved ones.

Odie Langley said...

Sush I read the account on the link and it hurt my heart to read how they were treated and I know so much of that same kind of treatment goes on today. Both of my parents are long gone but I think about the lack of compassion and hope it will turn around and get better.

Barbara F. said...

I still cringe when I hear the name Katrina,I was a thousand miles away and cried as I watched the news. I am sorry for the loved ones lost in that killer storm. xo

Shady Del Knight said...

My heart goes out to you, dear friend. Katrina was a national tragedy and a national disgrace. It was a pivotal moment in time similar to 9-11. We have our memories of the relatively carefree days before and the constant reminders of the new normal that came after. I am dreadfully sorry to know the story of how your parents displacement led to their demise. I can feel your sadness on this day and I know that the sting will return to you again in the months to come when you must observe the dates of their passing. God bless you and be with you, Sush!

lyndylou said...

Mother Nature has a hell of a lot to answer for. Thinking of you my friend and sending hugs through cyberspace.

Pat MacKenzie said...

What a lovely sad/happy post and a silly song. I wish I could hear it sung so I could hum it along with you.

Peace and love, Pt

Sweet Tea said...

Oh. *sigh*
What else to say?
I read your post that you linked to. It is especially sad when I see a "face" caught in all the tragedy of NO...I have only visited NO once, many years ago and was scheduled to visit again 2 wks after Katrina, of course that visit never happened. I will be going there in a couple of weeks, the first time since Katrina. Have you been back? What a sad day in the history of our country. I love the way you are remembering the good times there.

karen said...

It made me so sad to read your link. Of course, I well remember that time. Even though we were far removed from the physical memory, we were all horrified and were sad beyond grief for the losses suffered in Katrina. Although I've never been to New Orleans, I do have a fond attachment: my brother went to medical school at Tulane, and spent a few years in the area while doing that. He learned to suck the heads of crawfish with the best of 'em.

Crystal Pistol said...

I'm so sorry your heart is saddened today. You have such a generous spirit. You lift others with your memories and kind words and through song lyrics. God bless, my friend.

Sush said...

>Crystal Pistol...Thank you for your encouraging words! Music does a lot to life our spirits!

>Karen...what a small world we live in! My Dad graduated from Tulane's Undergraduate and Law School programs. Yes...pinch the tails and suck the heads are the words children in that humid air grow up with...

>Sweet Tea...My heart couldn't stand it if I only held on to the sad memories! Enjoy your visit...I don't get back as often as I'd like but we do still have family there so yes we do return! Be sure to 'Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouller' while there!

>Pat MacKenzie...I heeded your wish to hear the tune and added the music. Somewhat slower version than what we dance to but definitely the music, I hope you enjoy~

>Lynne...your loving heart and words always bring a smile to my face and lift my spirits ...thanks!

>Shady...your kind thoughts do ease the sting of the day. I can't look at that dark time without hearing the Green Day/U2 cover playing in my head...this verse brings tears to my eyes every time..

Child on her rooftops
Mother on her knees
Her sign reads: I am an American

....dark days indeed. I'm glad we were better at 9-11.

>Barbara was a killer storm and we must remember to respond quickly to our fellow countrymen anytime they are facing a disaster! Thank you~

>Odie! I am so happy to hear from you...I've been keeping you and yours in my prayers. Your part of our dear NC received more of Irene's wrath. It is a shame that we sometimes treat those most in need of compassion with so little...We must keep watch for those we care for!

Thisisme. said...

What a hauntingly,beautiful post today my fried. I have just gone in and read the other post about your poor parents' journey from New Orleans and how they passed away within such a short space of time of each other. It must have been such a tragic time for all your family. Thank God they are at peace now, and together. It must have been terrible for you seeing those TV images of the place that you loved and grew up in. Sending hugs to you today my friend.

Raindrops and Daisies said...

I'm sending you hugs too Sush.

Thinking of you and agreeing with Thisisme that thankfully your parents are now at peace and together.

Take care x

Sush said...

>Diane...sometimes I wonder how I did survive. Our nephew who was very dear to all of us died the night before my Dad passed away. I left my Dad's funeral to travel to another state for my nephew's funeral. So much sadness is tied to that time in my life. I really do have to keep it tucked away only to be remembered occasionally. I am grateful they are together and out of harms way.

>Fiona...Your hugs and those of all my dear blog friends are much needed and very dear...and yes again I am glad they are at peace and together.

kneesandpaws said...

Sush, I cried reading your linked post. How sad for your parents and for your family. I can't believe six years have passed since that terrible event. My thoughts are with you as you grieve the loss of your beloved parents and your home city, which is a place like no other in the US. I've never been there in person, but this city has brought me friends like you. New Orleans lives on in the people, in their hearts and memories, in food, music and art. It has a spirit of love and expression that is unique and beautiful, a cultural life that lives and goes on above flood waters and destruction.

Sush said...

> make my heart feel lighter with your loving words. Thank you for helping this heavy load feel lighter this morning...

orchid said...

Dear Sush,
OH!!! I cried and cried!!!
It took me so long to figure out your story because of my poor English comprehension. Of Course, no one can be in your shoes to understand how much you were in pain and how long it took to overcome the sorrow from your loss of loved ones. My heart aches to think about the evacuees from Tunami in Tohoku area (still close to 100 thousand)in Japan.

Last year in Oct., my brother took his own life because of mental illness he's been suffering. He (was 58 years old and single) did help me when mother died and father got dementia. But since early last year, I could see clearly his symptom got worse. It was so hard to convince him to be admitted into the hospital. He had been in the mental hospital for 2 and a half months. As he is single, I dealt with the doctor and formality alot. When he got discharged, I knew his manic state got better but depression seemed gotten worse. Our house is close so I called him dinner a lot etc. However, I cannot erase the thought that there might have been something I could helpe him. I am not sure about this, but crying so much won't help him to be with our mother up there together. I wish I will be able to stop crying after the one year memorial service.

You are srounded LOVELY family!!! I am 56 this Sep. but I still wish I could have a child. Because of my handicap, infertility treatment didn't work.

PS> thanks for the comment. Happy to hear that you and your son's house are OK. So sorry about trees, though. Surprised to hear you say the same thing what my husband says. Well, he cannot walk well or long distance so I think he deservr the space (^^;)

Oh, it took me so long to write this, haha.
Blessing to you and all of your family. Orchid.

Sush said...

>Oh Orchid...It is such a heartbreak when those we love are in pain...whether it be physical or mental. We can sometimes find comfort for their physical pain but mental pain is not as easily remedied. You did all you could and more I'm sure for your brother. And you are right he is with your Mother now and in a better place. Sadness like that takes so long to heal.

Your husband is a very kind man as you are a very kind woman. Thank you for all your lovely thoughts...


EmptyNester said...

We experienced HUGO in '89. I'd never seen such devastation prior to that and I never wanted to see anything like it again. Houses in the middle of a road- just picked up and put down and the next one just wasn't there anymore. All over the place it was like that. Even our church was destroyed. My mother lost everything. It was horrid. We had our lives but some weren't even that lucky. Oh, how I would love it if no one had to ever experience another hurricane EVER.

Anyway, I truly enjoyed the video and song. And yes, wonderful message- "never cease to love and live joyously!"

Pat MacKenzie said...

Sush, thanks so much for posting the video of the song. It is so pretty, even if it doesn't make much sense. I'll be humming it today, and loving and remembering love.

Desiree said...

I am so sorry to hear the tragic outcome of Katrina for you and you family. I can imagine how heartbreaking that time was for all of you, but the blessing was that you and your parents were together at the end.

Laura said...

I'm sorry for what your family had to go through. What a heartbreaking time for your parents.
You're right - love does make the world a better place!

Donna said...

Sush...I have the same heartache that you do. My mother who had cancer for a year was very ill when Katrina happened. Our Sunday School class adopted a family to relocate from Louisiana and I had them all to my home a few days later. My mother so wanted to help...she was my shining example of helping others. She died on September 28th and as soon as I heard of Irene, was reminded of Katrina. Those old feelings don't go away do they?

Chatty Crone said...

I'm answering your comment from my post today -

SO you are a great collector of fine things from McDonald's too! Love it.

Sush said...

>Empty Nester...I have heard and seen accounts of Hugo's destruction. It was awful and I am so sorry you and yours had to experience the calamity brought on by those ill winds. Glad you are doing fine now and give the lovelies a hug!

>Pat MacKenzie...So glad you listened but you must hum faster, lol, than the recording to give it justice!

>Des...yes I will always be thankful that I was able to love them through to the end.

>Laura...thank you for your kind words and though we all hear it often sometimes it helps to be reminded how important love is and to let those we love know we do...

>Donna...I'm sending my love to you, the days we lose our loved ones are hard to get through. Your Mother must have indeed been wonderful because she raised one fantastic daughter...hugs~

> now that was supposed to be our little secret. And sadly it is just the Madame Alexander Halloween Collections each year. As I said I get a little crazy with it! I love it too!

jabblog said...

How sad - but also how glad you are that your parents no longer have to suffer physically and bear the mental pain of not returning to their home.

Sush said...

>Janice...I am very glad they no longer have to suffer in any manner. They were two very stalwart people and bore much of their pain in silence. Thank your for your very kind words~