Annapolis lost a good one. One of the best ones, in fact. Death sure is a bummer (although we will all experience it). But it REALLY hurts when one of the best ones leaves us too soon.

Jeni Parris Brady gave without expecting anything in return. She didn’t want the credit or appreciation; she just wanted the recipient to receive. How many people do you know who are like that? Sheesh, hardly anyone. She cared so much about the music scene and wanted to do everything she could to support it. Nobody really knows how she was able to do so much. On top of her full-time job and being a mom, she was able to build and manage Naptownmusic. She managed the website and social media content (which is a ton of work, and I only deal with one band!) but she also managed to visit multiple shows per night, take videos, and post them. Always spreading the word and encouraging people to support local music.

And just a week before we lost Jeni, the Philly music scene lost a dear friend named Eric Miozzi, a super-rare human who preached constantly about the power and importance of “spread the happy.” He cared so much about others and their happiness. He was a big believer in practicing gratitude and just being kind to others. If you brighten someone’s day, you also brighten your own. HERE is a video we made for him.

Losing Jeni and Eric have caused many of us to open our hearts and do some thinking. They are on all of our minds. It’s been a very interesting time. Here are some random thoughts that have been surfacing and circling in my already-clogged brain:

It is so painful and strange to lose loved ones. It’s difficult and confusing to wrap our heads around never seeing them again, never being able to have another conversation. Never seeing them post on Facebook. I don’t want to sound morbid but, we are not done losing people. It will keep happening. A year ago, Jeni didn’t even know she was sick. A year later, she’s gone. This stuff just happens and will continue to do so. So what can we do? Accept that this world is a dark place and lose all hope? I have another suggestion.

Tell people you love them. Don’t hold back. I mean really grab them by the shoulders, stare into their eyes and blurt out something embarrassing. “Do you have any idea how different this world would be without you?? Do you have a clue of how much you mean to me?!” Tell Facebook how much you love them. Say it while you have the chance. Be aware of how much you would miss them if they left us. Stop and ponder what it would feel like. If you’re just not the type to say stuff like that, say it with actions instead. Bake a cake for their birthday. More than once. Invite them out for a beverage. Thank them. Minimize your future regrets. Don’t set yourself up for “I wish I said thank you. I wish I had done more for them.”

In other words, it’s awful to lose someone. But you know what’s great? Having someone. If I’m going to cry when someone dies, I must also rejoice when they live. It seems like we don’t always do a good job at this. Have you ever seen someone throw a fit cuz they ordered a burger and it came out overcooked? Tragic, I know. “My dinner is ruined! This always happens to me. FML.” Here’s a question for them: When you order a burger and it comes out perfectly, do you do a cartwheel? Every action has (and deserves) an equal but opposite reaction. My math-geek brain immediately thinks of absolute value, or opposites on a number line. If getting a flat tire is a -3 on the happiness scale, then getting to work safely on all 4 wheels should be a +3, not a 0. “Jeez Julie, are you saying I need to throw a party every time I don’t get a flat tire?” Nah, not exactly. I’m just saying don’t forget to be happy when things are going well. And don’t forget to appreciate and value our loved ones while they’re still around. We don’t know for sure that they will be here next year.

When we lose loved ones, our hearts are open. People reminisce about silly moments, they get huggy, they emotionally connect with people who they would normally find annoying. Let’s work on keeping those hearts open for a little while longer.

Please support your local scene in honor of these two beautiful humans! We love you, Jeni and Eric.

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