A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne
K. Young, Associate Editor.
Twenty-two years ago, my brother James died suddenly, at the age of
26, of an apparent cardiac arrhythmia while playing basketball. Although his
death has continued to leave a profound void for our entire family, my brother
gave me an invaluable gift before departing.
Jimmy was a professional jazz pianist, performing in many Philadelphia
jazz clubs. But his real love was composition, and at the time of his death,
he had created more than 60 pieces. His career path had not gone according
to the family "plan," where there is a strong expectation to pursue a professional
education and career, preferably in medicine. But Jimmy was someone who set
his own goals and followed the direction of his heart. I remember the night
he decided to become a musician. We went to hear Rudolf Serkin play a Brahms
piano concerto. The performance was so sublime that, at Jimmy's insistence,
we left at intermission because he didn't want his memory of the music to
be diluted by the remainder of the concert.
Brent DA. The Music I Want to Hear. JAMA. 2002;287(17):2186. doi:10.1001/jama.287.17.2186