I’m just gonna write something super earnest about Hamilton for a minute
Some of you know I was in the UK last week visiting my sister in London for her birthday. Me and my sister live in different countries now but she’s my whole world.
My sister’s dad has terminal cancer. We might have different dads but I’ve known him most of my life and even though he’s not my dad I call him Pops.
Anyway the whole birthday visit was taken up with discussions about funeral arrangements, hospice plans, end of life care, stuff like that. It. Was. Hard.
The day of my sister’s birthday I really just wanted to give her a nice day without any heavy conversations, just for one day. So we found a cinema in London still showing Moana and we had a fun day out singing along and eating cake. Afterwards we visited Pops at his home, it was the first time I’d seen him in maybe a year. He asked us which movie we’d been to see. We told him about Moana and I mentioned that Lin-Manuel had written some of the songs because if I can’t squeeze Lin into a conversation then what’s the point? His eyes lit up and he said ‘Oh, he’s the chap who wrote Hamilton? He’s very talented.’
Mine and my sister’s jaw dropped. You have to understand that while we are both huge Hamilton fans, Pops is not the kind of person who would ever like a musical. He’s a self proclaimed snob, he only listens to classical music, opera, and some jazz and that’s literally it. BUT he’s a massive history nerd, and he revealed to us that he’s secretly a huge Hamilton fan. He proudly showed us his Hamilton soundtrack cd, letting us handle it like it was a precious commodity, because to him it was.
I can’t stress enough how WEIRD it is that we discovered he loved Hamilton. It’s completely out of character and my sister was just gobsmacked that she had this huge thing in common with her dad that she never realized. Until now.
We helped him out of his bed, sat with him in his study, and listened to the Hamilton soundtrack together while retelling embarrassing family stories. Hearing him singing along to songs that me and my sister had always shared was just unreal. And for one day my sister got to have a normal day with no tears, no conversations about death, or funerals, or sickness. Just a nice afternoon with her dad.
He couldn’t stay out of bed for long as he gets tired easily so we took him back to bed. When we left him my sister was crying because as she brought him a glass of water he hummed the first couple of lines from Dear Theodosia to her and I’ll be damned if either of us can ever listen to that song again.
Sometimes I think I already love Hamilton and this fandom as much as I possibly can, and then something like that happens and I realize just how important art and music can be and I never in a million years thought I’d share that kind of moment with pops and my sister. I’m so grateful.