Music was a big part of my life growing up—piano lessons, church choir, band, theater—not to mention the songs playing nonstop in my head. That internal soundtrack is still going, but now I also have the fun lack of decorum that comes with traumatic brain injury, so I hum or sing along to my heart’s content. Where appropriate … usually.
By far my favorite group is the Beatles. It shames me to say that John Lennon’s murder on Dec. 8, 1980, was what sparked my interest in the Fab Four, but at 14 I was a little young to be a first-generation fan.
In college, this guy Ted, who would go on to become my husband, learned I had an encyclopedic knowledge of All Things Beatles. Even with other music, he noticed my lyrical memory was weirdly spot-on, even for songs I’d only heard coming from my siblings’ stereos or seen in songbooks. After 1993, when our daughter was born, I learned lots of “Barney & Friends” songs, sang her lullabies and helped her master the state capitals by singing them.
The Accident came years later, in September 2008. I emerged from a coma with moderate TBI and multiple broken bones and internal injuries, lucky to be alive. As cool as it would have been, though, I didn’t “wake up to the sound of music,” as in “Let It Be,” Paul McCartney’s ode to his mother. According to Ted, I once awoke in the hospital saying, in a robotic voice, “ERR-or. ERR-or,” and something like “01010101010.” I guess my brain was a computer, resetting itself. Or maybe that came from a repressed edition of “Lost in Space.”