My friend Robert

Robert in Music Therapy at TIRR Memorial Hermann

Robert in Music Therapy at TIRR Memorial Hermann

I am writing today about someone very influential in my life. See the link attach to understand the background story:

 A former patient and friend of mine passed away this week after living several years with a severe Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). It was heartbreaking to hear of this news. I will never forget our times together. I had THE most fun with Robert (and his sister Janice) at TIRR. He was one of my first experiences in treating SCI using Neurologic Music Therapy. We wrote songs and performed them in the doctor’s rounds at the hospital when he was in his first phase of inpatient care. I got to spend a lot of time with this grand artist, performer and lover of life. I learned so much from him even though I was there to help him with his rehabilitation, he was teaching me so many life lessons with his words and even more so with his gusto for life. He had been paralyzed from the neck down after a fall. He did not let that stop him from being the great artist and creator that he was. He came to our hospital for several rounds of therapy, so I got to really get to know him more each time.
I am so thankful that I got to see him one last time a few years ago when I was speaking at the Americans for the Arts conference in San Antonio. I invited him because I knew that he would relate to using the arts for healing. He was still making art even in his chair. He used the wheels of his chair to create painted murals and would then complete them by using a computer program with his mouth. He attended my presentation downtown and even hung out at the University touring me around and introducing me to all of his actor friends in town. I was on his old stomping grounds and he was the best host.
I will never forget his stories, his joy, and his impersonations of babushkas and musical theatre characters. I have learned that you can truly do anything that you have a desire to do if you just have the drive, community, and mind to do it. He never quit. I know that he is now free and his story will never die. I will never forget Robert and I will share him with the world.

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