The Wave Goodbye

So close your eyes for that’s a lovely way to be
Aware of things your heart alone was meant to see ~Antonio Carlos Jobim

Bill and Jim at the Backstage Bar  Photo by Doug Harper ©2012

Bill and Jim at the Backstage Bar, one of their last gigs together. Photo by Doug Harper ©2012

Last Saturday, amidst a dozen other things claiming our attention, we attended the wake of a good friend and fellow musician. I must admit that I wasn’t looking forward to it, as he died the night before his 53rd birthday, much too young. But what I had feared as a sad evening mourning his death was instead a joyful celebration of his life, overflowing with laughter and stories.  His girlfriend Marsha had filled a table with photos of Jimmy, many of them including my husband Bill, as they often performed together, two musicians in love with the guitar.  Bill had put together a slide show of photos and videos of Jimmy teaching and performing – it was a joy to hear his voice and his guitar. The place was filled with musicians (many of them on their way to a gig) as well as various artists, radio personalities, friends, and family. I came home thoughtful and smiling.


Flamenco Gold by Sibthorp, used by permission GFDL via Wikimedia Common

A few nights later, I had a powerful dream.  I was asked to sing a bossa nova song for a stage show, one that I recognized but had never sung, and I was being coached by three Brazilians, two women and a man. The women showed me how to move and dance to the music as I was singing – they considered this an essential element to performing the song properly. As I struggled to get everything just right, I saw a procession move forward from the back of the stage, solemnly moving as if in a slow dance step. Instead of two by two, it was a block of Brazilian men and women dressed in simple black clothes, nine across, nine deep.  In the center of the procession was Jimmy, tall and blond, with a serious expression on his face broken by a small smile. As they proceeded to the front of the stage, I realized that I had been coached to sing this song as a farewell to my friend, as a tribute to him for using his musical gifts well.  This was his ceremony to pass from one world to another, with an honor guard all around him. I awoke with the melody of the song ringing in my head;  I realized that it was Wave by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Have you ever had a dream that was not about you, not about processing your own psyche, but something bigger, higher, truer than your personal issues, more real than waking life? This was that kind of dream. And I can’t get the melody of Wave out of my head, I’ve been singing and humming it for days now. My friend Kenia, Brazilian vocalist extraordinaire, has offered to coach me on this song, making part of this dream come true.

Here is a concert rendition of Wave beautifully sung in Portuguese by Esther Badia. (

Here are the English lyrics to Wave written by Jobim.  Here is an English translation of the original Portuguese lyrics to Wave (the English song lyrics were also written by Jobim.)

Here is a recording of Jimmy playing another bossa nova, My Little Boat

Jimmy, may you dance and strum your way into the next life with a smile on your face and escorted by music. Peace.

38 thoughts on “The Wave Goodbye

  1. Sorry to hear about your friend’s passing. He lives always through his music, his family and friends, the memories that made everyone feel so alive and inspired. Beautiful post .

  2. Sorry for your loss Lynn and Bill. I’m sure you will greatly miss Jimmy in so many ways. Sounds like you had a wonderful celebration of his life.

  3. Such a lovely tribute, Lynn, especially the dream. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend.
    (Pardon me for not signing in as usual. I am unable to access your blog when I’m signed in. I can’t figure out why, but it happens with all the blogs I follow wherein the authors have their own domains.)

    • Robin, you are showing up here in your “former guise” – perhaps it is a ghost of the WP process. So, thank you for your comments – the dream continues to occupy my attention, as it is a “many-aspect” dream. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are thriving on the Maryland shore 🙂

  4. Lynn, this was such a lovely tribute ; I’m so sorry for your lose. And what a magnificent musician. I am sad that I’ve never heard his work until this tribute. I love it. I also connected with your dream (you and I have talked about these type of dreams before, so I understand how profound this was or you) and understood the power of it. God bless and bring healing to your heart and that of your husband’s in due season.

    • Eleanor, thank you for your kind words. Yes, Jimmy was really talented and I was so pleased to find his clips on Soundcloud so that I could share them here. My husband often performed with him; those were always fun times. We just remember the good times, lots of music making 🙂

  5. What a powerful dream, and such detail. You’ll be able to draw from it over and over, I imagine. It’s good that the evening was a celebration, as it should be. I listened to Gal Costa – lovely and smooooth as silk, her voice, and the group is elegant & restrained, which is refreshing these days. Jobim is a master, no? One of my all time favorites is Waters of March – how does he write such seemingly simple, yet truly complex songs? Good for you for tackling Wave, rounding out a tribute to your friend. I hope your husband is also able to express the loss in music. Now I have to check out Jimmy’s song and the English Wave lyrics, because I’ve never seen them and if Waters of March is any indication, they’ll be compelling.

    • Bluebrightly, thank you. You are right, it is one of those dreams that is unforgettable and food for thought and creative response. As for Waters of March, that is a favorite of mine, so much so that I posted about it last year, in Waters of March. I have a few links to my favorite versions, including one with Jobim himself. That’s a guy that changed the music of the world, and in a beautiful way. Glad to know that you appreciate his music too!

      • I love Susannah’s version too – it was a hard choice to make between hers and the one I chose, which had Jobim playing on it. McCorkle’s recording was voted one of the 50 best jazz vocal recordings by NPR listeners a few years ago.

  6. Lynn, What a beautiful tribute and profound dream! I have had BIG dreams that are still guiding my life. For the dream of now..We took our visiting student from Brazil to hear Ruthie Foster (from my latest post) last night she repeated a quote that sounds very much like the one you begin this post with. It seems there are waves going around the world to remind us of our Hearts!!! Blessing to you and your Bill…

    • Carol, thank you. I too have a collection of the big dreams; some of them occurred over 30 years and I’m still working on them 🙂 And yes, there does seem to be a wave of awareness rising. As always, your comments are so welcome!

      • Music can add such a powerful element – I recall on the night of my father’s passing I had a – dream? – where I heard him playing a favourite piece on the piano. I knew instantly what it meant.

  7. Lynn, I am so sorry for the loss of your good friend; his life passed too soon. It seems your dream was indeed, meant to ferry him – and your post is a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing a small piece of him with us.

  8. This has filled my heart. So much of it brings my sister to me. She was a singer. Same voice range as Gail Costa, I believe. She died the night before her 50th birthday. The memorial service was filled to overflowing with musicians, friends, family, neighbors, even her dental hygienist. People of all cultures, colors and backgrounds. I love the image of my tall, dark-haired sister in the midst of a group of escorts taking her to the next world. And I love the song. Perhaps she will be meeting up with your friend to get to know each other.
    Thank you for sharing this.

    • What a powerful story, chlost, and so closely parallel to Jimmy’s. I love the image of your sister with the escorts and hope it was so. Thank you for sharing your story – I am deeply touched.

  9. oh, Lynn, how beautiful…when I began working as a spiritual director I also began studying dreamwork more earnestly, as it always seemed, intuitively, to be one way the Spirit guides us and communicates with us. (I don’t mean this in a “woo-woo” kind of way, but only in that it seems the rational is only half the story and mystery/Love the other. We need both to make the story whole, and I believe we give ourselves over to mystery more fully when we’re sleeping and exposed, more readily becoming mystery’s nakedly vulnerable audience and co-creator.) Jeremy Taylor says, “All dreams come in the service of healing and wholeness,” and the deeper I go into dreamwork, the more I believe this. These “meta-dreams,” like the veritable goldmine you describe, seem often to offer this healing and wholeness not only to the dreamer, but to others as well, even those who have perhaps “changed worlds.” And, of course, to us, your readers.

    I hope you’ll return often to this dream and its layers of invitation, and I thank you so much for sharing it. You’ve certainly blessed my day and many to come. Gentle peace in entering the flow of Jimmy’s transition and the ways this shift leads you…

    Sending love,

    • Kitty, thank you for your wise and intuitive words. Yes, this was indeed a meta-dream, the kind that is always remembered and is indeed a goldmine. Already, I see some subtle changes and shifts in my life from having this dream. Thank you for quoting Jeremy Taylor – I didn’t know about him before and just spent 30 minutes exploring his website and his ideas on dreams. Time to get one of his books!
      As always, Kitty, you bring a fresh perspective with your visits here, for which I am always grateful.

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