The Music that was Bruce

For those of you who knew Bruce Tabor – and for those not so fortunate – here is a little memory of him to post on this 18th anniversary of his passing:  tonight, 7PM.  If you did know him, be prepared to shed a tear or feel your heart; there was no one like Bruce.

Cooking, providing on a New Year’s Eve with the beautiful Berkely.

When I met Bruce the second time (9 years after the first time), I lived in Manhattan and he in Hollywood.  We spent one Thankgiving weekend together in New York.  It rekindled the alchemical oven, and it was deep since it was a re-kindling.  He then had to return to LA, but we were hooked, tight.  Every day in my mailbox came something:  a letter, a postcard, a package.  Not a day passed without something.  Every few days or so there would be a tape which he had mastered, full of his favorite selections and artfully composed.  One afternoon, soaking in a tub in my sub-let on  96th Street near Broadway, I was listening to the day’s tape.

I came to the Sarah Vaughn song which contained the lyric:  “You opened my eyes the day you chose them, someday you’ll close them, when my journey is through.”  “Shee-it,” I thought.  “This man is serious.”  And then for all the next 18 years I wondered every now and then who would close whose eyes—but mostly something as penetrating as this melodic inquiry floated to a less-intense level of consciousness.    The song over the years was … just a song. The profundity of life is such that it most often must be hidden, occult.

Well, it came to pass that Bruce’s little sister was taken at 33 by cancer and he always regretted that he had not been at her side with music and expensive perfume; they say that smell is one of the last senses to depart.  So, on September 9th when Ronnie and I were driving Bruce back up from Mexico to the hospital in Burbank, after getting him settled (to the shock of the medical personnel, incidentally, who couldn’t even figure out how he survived the drive, and nor could we), I dashed home for a second for something and I remembered what he had wished for his sister:  I gathered his favorite cologne and a fistful of those tapes he had sent to me 18 years prior.

Back in the hospital room, I randomly picked one, which randomly was cued to a particular song, and there she was:  Sarah Vaughan singing, “You opened my eyes, the day you chose them; someday you’ll close them, when my journey is through.”

God works in mysterious ways.  Last year I met a woman who since has become a dear friend.   One thing we share is that we both lost a beloved, work-of-art husband when he was in the prime of life:  Poof!   Today I was chatting with her, and I mentioned September 10th, 7PM.  She said simply, “Mine too.”  The very same day, the very same time, so many years ago.  So tonight together with love and tenderness we bow.  We open to the heartedness and mystery, to the paths of pain and glory on which we dance, fall, slide, and rise.  7PM.

By the way, I cannot find the Sarah Vaughan tape just now.  I have some more looking to do and some more stories to tell, but can anyone tell me the title of the song in which those achingly loving lyrics appear?  Ah!  someone sent it: 

Showing 4 comments
  • Brad

    Soren, what a beautifully written piece about Bruce & your journey with him.

    Without doubt Bruce was taken from this earth & every one of us way to early. My last memories with Bruce were in the airport as we were returning home from one of my sisters weddings. I can remember thinking on that day why I had not spent more time trying to get to know Bruce better as he really seemed like such a great guy the more we spoke with one another. I hope one day i/we find out heaven is for real, and Bruce is up there waiting for all of us with open arms , so I can carrry on those great conversations with him. RIP Bruce…….

  • Lisa Fimiani

    What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful man.

    The lyrics are from the song I Live To Love You on Sarah Vaughan’s I Love Brazil! album:

    I find it so amazing that your birth was on September 9th and Bruce left us on September 10th.

    Speaking of amazing…. you are.

    Love, Lisa

  • Julie

    Thanks for sharing that Soren! I think of Unkie often and always admired your love. A beautiful combination of two incredibly unique people. Please tell me if you ever come across the name of that song.
    Love you!!

  • Kate

    Lovely thoughts and memories

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