When we got home to East Nashville, the first thing I did was schedule a guitar lesson so I could pour all that inspiration into a new medium. I imagined myself playing guitar onstage for my next album cycle. But as I was practicing late on the night of March 2, out of nowhere, a tornado ripped through East Nashville. I grabbed Tiny, our Maltese-Chihuahua, and Jim grabbed his hard drive––the thing that held years of his music and the transcripts for a book he’d been writing––and we ducked into the stairwell of our building, praying for the best but expecting the worst. When the tornado had finally passed, we were fortunate. Our building was damaged, but our apartment remained untouched. We breathed a sigh of relief and thanked God for protecting us.
Only a few days later, the pandemic began sweeping across the country. Work began drying up. All my upcoming tours started to get cancelled and gigs fell through for Jim, too. We were luckier than some; I still had a contract writing commercial music with Warner Chappell, which meant I could lean into that work as a creative outlet and a way to keep us afloat. But on top of the isolation of quarantine, the tumult of our professional lives, and adapting to a stressful new world, tragedy struck my family.
My dad, who lives in New York city, called me one day. He was in an Uber and on his way to an NYU hospital. He serves as the director of a nursing home in New York, which was the epicenter of the pandemic at that time, and he had contracted COVID. He spent ten days in the hospital unconscious and on a ventilator. Hospital staff told us there was only a 10 percent chance he would come off the ventilator alive. My family spent weeks praying together over Zoom calls and trying to support each other as best we could from a distance. And somehow, through luck, karma or sheer divine intervention, Dad healed enough to come off the ventilator. He’d nearly lost his life to COVID, but he survived!