Monday, May 21, 2012

How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?

“There will NEVER be a time when enough is enough. I want to live no matter what.”~Robin Gibb (when asked by doctors to what extent they should go to save him).

Last month singer/songwriter Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees appeared to have beaten the odds. Doctors had declared him cancer free after undergoing grueling treatment for liver and colon cancer. He also suffered from the same ailment that killed his fraternal twin Maurice in 2003, a twisted intestine. Subsequent surgery weakened Robin further. He relapsed with pneumonia and slipped into a coma.

His last musical accomplishment, the Titanic Requiem, a classical masterpiece written with son RJ to commemorate the Titanic’s 100th anniversary, was performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra April 10, in London. Robin was set give what would have been his last performance. The project, which he credited with saving his life during months of grueling chemotherapy, was performed without him.

I listened to the song he would have sang, Don’t Cry Alone, on his website. His haunting vibrato lent a chilling effect to the lyrics and melody.

After a bedside vigil from his family, which included music played and brother Barry singing to Robin, he emerged from the coma twelve days later asking for ice cream. Doctors declared his recovery remarkable. The rejoicing was short-lived. Tests showed Robin’s cancer had returned, and he never regained his strength lost from being in a coma. He died yesterday at the age of 62.

There is a lone Gibb brother now. No more Bee Gees, except in our memories and in the beautiful harmonies they produced.

I became a huge Bee Gees fan in 1977, along with many others. However, they’d been producing music and number one hits for two decades and continued long after disco died. With more than one thousand songs in their songwriting catalog, hundreds of other singers have benefited from covering the brothers’ songs.

Bee Gees songs are experienced with the heart, with a smile, maybe a tap of the foot, or for those more uninhibited, a few dance steps.

At 12 years old, along with millions of adolescent girls, I dreamed one day I’d marry a Gibb brother. (Okay, stop laughing long enough to finish reading this.J) Two major problems existed with my dream. They were married and 15 years my senior! And did I mention they didn’t know I existed? LOL.

Beyond that, they inspired me musically. I learned to play the piano and perhaps would have pursued a music career had life not taken me in a different direction.

Despite success few bands or songwriters can claim, including five songs in the top ten on Billboard charts in the same week, tragedy followed the Gibb family. Robin and his first wife were among few survivors of a train wreck in the 1960s. They helped pull scores of victims from the wreckage. He was never the same afterwards and had a sense of desperate mortality that drove his music.

Youngest brother Andy died in 1988, at age 30, from heart disease brought on by years of drug use. Father Hugh died four years later on Andy's birthday from what the brothers described as a bitter, broken heart, having never gotten over Andy’s death. Maurice died in 2003, from cardiac arrest after doctors failed to diagnose his twisted intestine properly and it ruptured. Oldest brother Barry suffers from severe arthritis triggered by back surgery more than a decade ago.

Along with Barry losing all three brothers, mother Barbara Gibb, age 91, now has the heartbreaking task of burying a third son. She recently was quoted as saying she believed her family was cursed much like the Kennedys in the U.S. (Ironically, the Kennedys suffered a tragic death this week, as well.) Robin himself lamented recently that perhaps the Gibb family tragedies were karma for their success. Sometimes it appears some families suffer more loss than others, particularly families like the Kennedys, but more than likely it is just that—a perception. We notice it more when tragedies occur in high profile families.

The lesson is—though none of us know how our days are numbered, we know they are. Therefore, those days shouldn’t be wasted. Matthew 25 outlines that we’ll answer for our talents used or wasted. Romans 14:12 says we’ll give an account of ourselves to God.

“Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God. When it comes time to die, make sure that all you have to do is die.”~Jim Elliot (martyred missionary)

Despite the successes we enjoy or heartbreaks we suffer, each moment of life is precious.

What I’ll remember most about the Bee Gees is the music they created for five decades, the joy they shared through their music, and the inspiration I gained from them.
The Measure of a Man
Not - How did he die? But - How did he live?
Not - What did he gain? But - What did he give?

These are the things that measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.

Not - What was his station? But - had he a heart?
And - How did he play his God-given part?

God bless,


  1. That was a wonderful post, Laura. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Kathy

  2. It is amazing how fast life can change, how we never are certain of our next breath. Should make us want to live life to the fullest.