The Spring of '16
Bryan Adams. Manchester. Friday night. It's doubtful there's anywhere in the world Brittany would rather have been. Bryan Adams is her favourite artist by a country mile and also the connecting thread to her step mum Marilyn who died this past autumn. A night of song, dance and celebration laced with pathos was about to unfold for Brittany.
We met up with Brittany and her Auntie Bev at 5 o'clock giving plenty of time to eat and excitement to build. Brittany was plenty excited already and food held little interest as all the talk was about Bryan Adams, about whether he would play her favourite songs and how long till he came on. In fact, ice cream or a dessert of any kind was turned down so there was little to do except head into the arena...
We went to the merch stand and found a tour hoodie for Brittany, and then Auntie Bev also got her the tour tee and we headed to our seats for the show.
In the row behind us was a lady who had seen plenty of shows over the years and was able to assure Brittany that Summer of '69 would be played that night. Brittany lit up knowing her favourite song would be played later. After days of waiting for the big day to come, days that were filled with phone calls to Auntie Bev to check how many days it was until Bryan Adams Day, showtime was finally here.
Brittany @Bryan Adams
In a world where we're so often asked to ignore our grief, to pretend everything is ok, often because others want it that way because someone else's grief is too much, it takes great courage to let go, to honour our sadness, our losses.
Yet this is what Brittany was beautifully able to do during Heaven, a song she loves and also evokes strong memories of her step mum, Marilyn. Every tear shed honouring her love for a woman who was far more than a step mum to her.
The house lights came down, the band came on and for the next two and a bit hours, Brittany smiled, laughed, cried, danced and sung to her favourite songs. Not long into the set, Heaven was played.
More music, more singing, more dancing, more grinning. It was as if the set was handpicked for Brittany as all her favourite songs were played. Then, just as she thought it was all over and the band had left the stage, Bryan came back out to do a four-song acoustic set to close the night.
We made our way back to Auntie Bev's car with Brittany beaming and wearing her new hoodie and said goodbye as they headed home. A few days later, we got a lovely message from Auntie Bev saying how much Brittany had enjoyed the show. So much in fact that she rang Bev eleven times the day after, beside herself with excited memories. The first call Bev got was at 7.40 in the morning. Some might say that's a little early. We think what's the point in having a favourite aunt if you can't call her at 7.40 in the morning after a night that's healed some grief and left you grinning like a Cheshire Cat.