Get Busy Living

Amy’s favorite movie was The Shawshank Redemption. I think we watched it just about every time it was on, and she had the DVD too. I was not a big fan of the film, but I could  do a good impression of Morgan Freeman describing the escape: Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of @#$% smelling foulness I can’t even imagine, or maybe I just don’t want to.

After a while, I started doing Morgan Freeman’s 500 yards bit to narrate whenever we had to clean up something gross. Like cleaning our hedgehog cage. It drove her crazy – but I had a way of driving Amy crazy. The first time I made dinner in her kitchen I set the stove on fire. 

Another quote from Shawshank has been running through my mind for the past few days: Get busy living or get busy dying.

A close friend contacted me to remind me to take care of myself. He was not alone. Other friends and several strangers have reached out to ask me to be careful not to allow my grief to alter my recovery.

When I came home to Crisfield a few years ago I weighed 300 lbs, my blood sugar was out of control, my blood pressure was sky high, I had peripheral neuropathy so bad that I was unable to walk and I was on a staggering amount of prescription pain medication.

The pain medication came from a slew of different doctors and surgeons. I never intentionally took too much of the stuff. I just had too many doctors over-medicating me.

It took a monumental effort to get clean, lose weight and get back on my feet. The process is still in motion as I am still on a diet and still on a Suboxone program.

Doctors are also making progress helping me with my seizures and migraine headaches.

My heart may be broken, but I have to keep working on myself, teaching, making music and finding new avenues for my creativity.

Folks on my mother’s side of the family regularly live well into their 90’s and beyond. I could have a lot of time ahead of me!

Here are a few things I would like to do over the next fifty years or so:

  • Continue writing and teaching.
  • Finish the Blues Project.
  • Visit my family and friends in the UK and Spain.
  • Learn to Juggle.
  • Learn to play the piano.
  • Swim with otters.
  • Learn to bake bread.
  • Take some art classes.
  • See the redwoods.
  • See the aurora borealis and/or the aurora australis.
  • Convince my friends/readers/students to plant milkweed, parsley and butterfly bushes to help monarch butterflies, swallowtail butterflies and clearwing moths.
  • See the night sky in the desert.
  • Hold workshops for my friends in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania +  The Guildford Banjo Jamboree
  • See as much of Canada as I can.

I know for sure I will check off one or two things off of my list and there are other things listed here that are next to impossible for me because of my health. A goal is nothing more than something to get you out the door starting on your adventure.

I will love and miss Amy to my dying day and beyond, but I have to keep on living. After everything I have been through, I am so blessed that I can still get excited over daydreams and inspire people to sing along.

I am going to be okay.

God bless each and every one of you.

Patrick Costello
Crisfield, Maryland

11 thoughts on “Get Busy Living

  1. Hey patrick its josh again from longbeach cali.just wanted to say hi and i hope your doing well buddy..stay positive and keep on picking…k.i.t my friend….

  2. Yes Patrick. You are indeed going to be ok.
    Furthermore, your teaching skills will continue to help people learn to make music.

  3. No doubt the great things you have taught and will continue to teach have helped to heal and will continue to heal many a broken heart. God bless you my friend

  4. No doubt the great things you have taught and will continue to teach have helped and will continue to help heal many a broken heart . God bless you my friend. Andy in London .

  5. Ok Patrick, I can help you with the night sky in the desert on your bucket list!
    We live in the mountains about 80 miles north of Phoenix (Payson, Az). The most beautiful blue skies you’ll ever see with sparkling night skies. You are welcome anytime. We’ll even pick you up at the airport. So much to see, Sedona, Flagstaff, a train ride to the Grand Canyon, etc. We would love to have you as our guest. It doesn’t get much easier than that. We enjoy showing off our beautiful State. We are both retired Fire Chiefs, layed back no frills folks. Plenty of room in our new house in Payson located at the base of the Mogollion Rim. You have an open invitation my friend. Think about it.
    Mark & Connie

    • That sounds like a plan!
      Once work is caught up I will start looking for a way to organize a workshop in your neck of the woods.
      God bless,

  6. Thinking of you, Patrick. You have helped me soooo much. You will be fine and will continue your wonderful work. I feel like I’ve known you forever tho we never met.

  7. Patrick, I happened to do a search for you today to see how you were doing. I am sorry for your loss. Your videos taught me how to play banjo. Playing brings me so much joy and friendships. Thank you and best wishes.

  8. Hi Patrick,
    About 12 years ago I picked up a banjo to try to learn how to play because I loved the sound of it, and the first online lessons I got were from you and I am still learning and stopped for a while but have just started back again. Thank you for teaching banjo.
    I have seen your posts now and then about your health issues and I am glad you are recovering your health. I’ve had some illness too and as I get older it’s not as easy to stay well. I wanted to share with you a few websites for you to check out which would help your recovery process as it they have mine. I hope you might google: Dr John McDougall’s Starch Solution, and Dr Esselstyn and Dr Colin T. Campbell and a website called Forks Over Knives if you haven’t already heard of them. When you get to their websites, go to the success stories pages and check them out and you’ll see some amazing stories of recovery from all kinds of illnesses and health problems and getting off medications using their diet. Even people in the most dire condition have found a way back.
    All the best to you, and I would love to see you recover completely from your health battles.
    Also I am sorry for your loss, and thank you for continuing to teach banjo despite all that you have been going through.
    Bless you and happy frailing!

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