A week ago, I was supposed to be in New York City, visiting my older sister and brother-in-law, and going to a sold-out Jesse Malin concert at Webster Hall. Jesse was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of his solo debut album, The Fine Art of Self Destruction (one of my favorite albums ever). An impressive list of guest stars were joining him on stage – Lucinda Williams (one of my all-time favorite artists), Tommy Stinson of the Replacements (another fave band of mine), Cait O’Riordan of the Pogues, Aaron Lee Tasjan (fantastic young artist), Butch Walker, Cat Popper, Adam Weiner from Low Cut Connie…

By all accounts — including this one — it was a fantastic show.

Photos above by Bob Krasner.

I didn’t make it to NYC. I saw a better show. I saw the most amazing display of love and compassion ever, as my wife attended to her mother’s every need during her mom’s last hours on earth.

My mother-in-law had been living with us since December, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. At first, she used a walker to get around, but after a second stint in the hospital in February, she was confined to a hospital bed in our living room. My wife slept on the floor next to her for weeks, so she could be there in those times of need. Feeding her. Changing her. Bathing her. Administering the meds that lessened the physical pain. Providing the love that gave her mother comfort. Holding her hand as she exited this earth.

Sorry Jesse, Lucinda, Tommy, et al. You know I love you, but my wife is the true rock star.

Did an angel whisper in your ear

And hold you close, and take away your fear

In those long, last moments…

Lucinda Williams “Lake Charles”