When All That's Left of Me Is Love, Give Me Away

On August 26, 2012, a creative, inspiring soul left this planet and her colleagues and the students she loved will honor her passing in a memorial service at New Jersey City University. Annette LeSiege accomplished a great deal in her lifetime. She was a classical composer with over 70 published works, many of them commissioned and performed throughout the world.

During her distinguished career, she was a tenured professor at Wake Forest University, Managing Director of the Symphony for United Nations, Development Officer at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, Chair of the Department of Music at Santa Catalina School, sought-after guest lecturer, and Assistant Dean and Associate Professor at New Jersey City University (NJCU). After retiring from NJCU in 2009, Dr. LeSiege was named Professor Emerita in recognition of her exemplary accomplishments, character, and life. -- Obituary of Annette LeSiege, Monterey Herald (Marina, CA), October 12, 2012

More than all of these accomplishments, Annette was our gadfly with feet-on-the-ground playfulness and discipline infused with passion. She embodied excellence and inspired respect. She asked a lot of life and of us all.

When NJCU decided on the Oct 28th memorial service, I was asked to record a poem that inspired Annette to compose a piece by the same name. The words took my breath away. Merrit Malloy, poet, friend and muse cracks open our hearts with simple, piercing truth in Epitaph.

Annette's student, René Martinez composed the musical setting, the poetry is Merrit Malloy's and the voice is mine. Recorded by the students of MARS, the Media Arts Recording Studio at NJCU, it was a team effort that Annette would have loved. Listen and allow yourself to be transformed.

Bless you, beautiful spirit, for making this world a better place and leaving a legacy of love.

When I die
Give what's left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me
In the people I've known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on your eyes
And not on your mind.

You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting
Bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.

Love doesn't die,
People do.
So, when all that's left of me
Is love,
Give me away.
Epitaph, Merrit Malloy