Peter, like many Arts Ph. D.s,
Entered the work-force, but could not find
The right music composition place.
Earning money for his brand new bride
Required taking a job at the school.
Music would be heard for 30 years
Instead of written. But then a real
Creative time in retirement days.
He wrote music, heard it played, but when
Aggressive cancer hit him he had
Little strength left to compose. The pain
Overcame the music in his head.
Valiantly he taught others to hear,
Even laughing, having music near.
— — — —
Perhaps it was hallucination,
Even a vision, but a guy named
Tom showed up the last hours the patient
Endured the cancer. Ghostly Tom claimed
Right after death we all will get a preview
Making clear what the afterlife will be.
If people wish, they enter in–but few do
Choose that life, “Been there, done that!” they say.
How can more years, even if pain-free
Atone for dying young and leaving
Loved ones, music, teaching, history
Of stamps… The time would be spent grieving.
Very plain spoken always, he said:
Everlasting sleep I choose instead.
– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, December 12, 2013
Dr. Peter Michalove, who died last week, was a career Business Manager for several academic departments at the University of Illinois, where he had received his Doctorate of Musical Arts in composition.
In retirement, music he wrote was played and appreciated (see “Peter Michalove” on YouTube).
Chemotherapy fatigue eventually made writing music impossible, but Peter taught music classes to other retirees at the University, to enthusiastic applause. He has written about music and cancer: http://petermichalovecomposer.com