“If you don’t get better, stay sick for as long as possible.” In October, my mother sent a card with this quote to Jean Root. It was a gallows humor from one patient to another.
About a year and a half ago, my mother heard that she had metastatic cancer. She was very ill at the time and we thought she had a few weeks to live. We also discussed what you want to do. “What a pity we are no longer able to go to Jan Rot’s latest performance together,” she sighed.
My mother has been following Jean Root since he performed with Streetbeats in the late ’70s. When Root took to the stage in the ’90s, she took me to those shows. They made a deep impression: melancholy, searching for true and wonderful songs. My mom had just left my dad at that time, I was an unhappy teen and there was no better CD rear admiral To sing from our toes. Then we followed Jan Root together and played those albums from the ’90s as well as his newest work.
Since 2015, Root has presented theater programs that look back over a decade, recounting the most important works and news of that time along with the story of his life and music. My mother and I of course went to those shows, and for many years we had been looking forward to the moment Jean Root would arrive in the ’90s.
It was supposed to be in April 2020, but that performance was canceled due to the shutdown. When my mother became terminally ill a few months later, everything indicated that she would not make it to the reopening of theaters.
I emailed Jean Root if, perhaps, he would come and play this show for us in her living room. Three days later he was on her door, his keyboard, and his decor. Rot played as if he was standing in front of the completely sold out Carré and at the same time just for us. During the break, he disappeared into the hall and then came back in his white suit rear admiral† So it suits him a little. Root playing my mom’s favorite song as an appearance on the sofa today† He was such a great gift that he did it for us.
We were able to enjoy the cutest Jan Rot performance we’ve seen for a long time to come. The life expectancy of terminal patients is unpredictable and my mother had more than a few weeks and passed away last December.
When Jean himself turned out to have cancer last year with, as he himself wrote, “metastases everywhere,” we hoped he too would be allowed to live much longer than anticipated and have many good days.
“That’s a sweet story for him on the anniversary,” said a friend when I told him about Jean’s special party. “No,” I thought, “I’ll write it down if he’s still there, that’s more fun, then he can read again how much he meant to us.” I wanted to write about it at the weekend of the grand farewell party in New Luxor. Unfortunately, Jean had to cancel that concert. The life expectancy of terminally ill patients is unpredictable and now appears to be shortening.
So I sing off my toes: ‘Admiral, you slept well now. This is the changing of the guard.’
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