Music to my ears

In the past few weeks since my computer crashed I learned something very important. Writing this blog has been way more crucial to my survival than I thought. It has undoubtedly been one of the top 3 ways that I manage my grief. There aren’t many positive twists I can put toward the unlucky cards we’ve been dealt. Reaching others and giving parents like me someone to relate to is one of them—even if it means that I only help one person in some small way.

It’s been awhile and I know that I won’t have time to cover everything in 1 post. So, I’ll try to touch on a few and save the rest for the following 50. That being said, this post may be a compilation of unrelated thoughts and feelings. Try to bear with me.

First, I want to talk about music. I’ve reflected a lot on how music can be a bookmark for certain details of our life. Maybe someone remembers what song was playing the moment they received their first kiss. Shared a dance with a special someone they were crushing on. Maybe a song or album reminds them of a feeling–like the freedom of driving down the road in their very own car at 16. We often mark special moments with a song–and we can agonize over picking the perfect one, when the choice is ours. How many people felt perplexed over their wedding ballad? Music can capture so many things. It can warm your heart or bring you to tears-or both at the very same time.

This time in my life has been defined by several songs. Some that I remember listening to when Ry was still alive. Some happy, some sad. The last song I remember listening to with him was a sad moment. It was “Sweet” by Dave Matthews Band. I’d been working late, driving home, and was crying. I was talking to him and apologized for not taking better care of us/him. I told him that if he could just hang on a little longer that things would be different once he arrived. That I was looking forward to changing my life for him. That I couldn’t wait to meet him and dedicate my life to being his mom. I still think about that late night car ride. Here are the lyrics to that song:

**
Try to swim, keep your head up

Kick your legs, never give up, boy
If I could I’d turn it around
Let me out, I wanna get out now
You know it gets so deep 
You know it

You know it, you’re feeling so deep
But if you make it out, it tastes so sweet
Sweet
Sweet

I’m so high, I wanna come down
I’m so old to wanna be younger now
If I could I’d turn it around
Let me out, I wanna go home now

You know the feeling, when you’re in too deep
And if you make it out, the taste so sweet
Sweet
Sweet

Cover me, cover me, cover me
Till I’m gone
Cover me, cover me, cover me
Till I’m gone
Cover me, cover me, cover me
Till I’m gone
Gone

You know the feeling, when you’re in too deep
And if you make it out, it tastes so sweet
Sweet
Sweet

I miss, make it oh yeah
**

At the time the lyrics spoke to me because I wished that I could turn around my work situation. I felt like I was choosing work responsibilities over parental responsibilities. I was going against what I felt was right for me and Rylan. I listen to that song when I’m sad now. It immediately takes me back to that moment in the car. I still wish that I had taken better care of us… worked less… rested more… stopped feeling responsible to do for everyone around me all of the time. Now, more than ever, I wish that could turn things around.

I remember the music that was playing when I started going into labor. I can’t hear a Jack Johnson song without picturing my husband and I laying in our spare room bed, nervous and excited—holding hands, awaiting the baby that we were sure would change our lives forever. If only I knew how true that would be and what that would really mean for us. I think about the drive to the hospital. My favorite, DMB, played in the car. I remembering being very afraid and in a lot of pain. I focused on the music as I tried to breathe through the contractions. After we lost Rylan, the room I was moved to had soft music playing, I think… but all I remember is silence. The initial days home, the funeral, and some desperate moments that followed are marked by the DMB lullaby CD that my friend had given us at the shower. I was so excited to receive it and looked forward to the days that I could share my favorite band with my little guy. As of now, I can’t even listen to it—unless of course I need a trigger for a good cry (which isn’t often). I’ve recently related to a song by a band called “The Weepies.” The name of the song is “World Spins Madly On.” Here are the lyrics:

**
Woke up and wished that I was dead
With an aching in my head
I lay motionless in bed
I thought of you and where you’d gone
And let the world spin madly on

Everything that I said I’d do
Like make the world brand new
And take the time for you
I just got lost and slept right through the dawn
And the world spins madly on

I let the day go by
I always say goodbye
I watch the stars from my window sill
The whole world is moving and I’m standing still

Woke up and wished that I was dead
With an aching in my head
I lay motionless in bed
The night is here and the day is gone
And the world spins madly on

I thought of you and where you’d gone
And the world spins madly on…
**

I don’t know what the lyrics actually mean, but I’m guessing that anyone in my position may relate the words to their own experience. I do wake up and wish I was dead. My head literally hurts from no sleep and too much thinking about what has happened. Whether I stay “motionless in bed” or choose to move about with people in “normal” life, I feel very alone. Alone in my own sad world. Inside I feel like my heart stopped beating. Like I’m barely breathing. Like hope is a thing of the past. I feel like I want the world to stop and be sad with me. Until I’m ready to move forward—if that time ever even comes. But instead, I’m still while the “world spins madly on.”

Another song that I’ve reflected on recently is one from my childhood. One that gives me a warm feeling. When I was younger my mom and I sang the song, “You Are My Sunshine” to each other. Even today I refer to her as “my sunshine.” It makes me smile. Recently, and I don’t know why, I looked up the words to the song. I feel that some verses—not all, but some—relate to how I feel right now. Here are the lyrics I’m talking about:

**
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You’ll never know dear, how much I miss you
Please don’t take my sunshine away

The other night dear, as I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms
When I awoke, dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head and I cried.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You’ll never know dear, how much I miss you
Please don’t take my sunshine away
**

This song now has two meanings for me. It will always remind me of happy times with my mom. And she will always be my sunshine. Part of the reason that I searched the lyrics recently was because I wish that I could’ve shared the song with my child—to pass on what my mom shared with me. With regard to Ry, I definitely felt that he was a ray of light for me. Being pregnant with him and knowing that I was going to be his mom warmed my heart so much. I often dreamt about what it was going to be like once he was born and I just couldn’t wait to hold him. I still dream about him now, but my heart definitely hurts knowing that I’m imagining something now that will never be again. Sorry to be so literal, but I do feel like my sunshine was taken away. I feel pretty dark inside and I’m not sure how to recover most days.

So, those are some ways that music has defined the past few months for me. But please know that music helps me in so many ways. Some nights when I can’t sleep—when my brain just won’t shut off—I put on my headphones and play some relaxing music that I can concentrate on, which has been so helpful. Sometimes music helps initiate a good scream or cry—other times singing along to a happy song changes my mood and helps me make it through my long commute. Music at work and at the grocery store (again, thank goodness for headphones) has been helpful in avoiding or minimizing tough situations. I recommend them for anyone that struggles with family conversations or places that parents and their children gravitate toward. Sharing music instead of TV time has been a great way for my husband and I to connect. And, as I’ve said before, I love the moments where I can listen to my husband sing and play his guitar. It is always so comforting. Listening to old (like 80’s/90’s “old”) music has given us an outlet to be silly.

On a side note: Finding ways for you and your significant other to get a good, deep-in-the-stomach, uncontrollable laugh in is great—I can’t recommend it enough. Even if you have to act like children and resort to good old fashioned tickle fights or wrestling is so worth it—even if you pull a muscle in the process. We all need a way to balance the sadness we’re carrying. And, every minute counts.

Well, speaking of my hubby, he just walked in the door. I have to run. I hope that I get another chance to write real soon. Like I said, I have a lot to say. Thank you, as always, for taking the time to read our story.

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6 thoughts on “Music to my ears”

  1. I relate, friend. Hang in there. I feel like I wish the world would stop and be sad with me too, but it’s not. I’m glad you have a good hubby and a good mom and music to help you. And God.

  2. It has been said that music has the ability to speak the words inside our heart better than any existing language. I believe that is true. Music helped me so much when I lost my son Michael a few months back. In those immediate days after, I was so grateful to be a musician, because all I had to do was to pick up my guitar and it helped. Being able to write — especially the song for his memorial service — helped so very much. I don’t think I would be doing half so well as I am, had I not had music to see me through.

  3. Hi. I came across your blog while searching the internet for support sites for grieving parents.

    I hesitate to leave a post as I don’t want to come across as self-promoting. But I know there’s a reason why I wrote the song “A Child That’ll Never Be” (a large part of which is my personal catharsis).

    Anyway I humbly share with you this song that I wrote about “what could have been.”

    Wishing you the best this Holiday Season.

    Sincerely,
    Dennis

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, and for sharing something as personal as your music. My husband is a musician and I know how important writing songs is to him, especially now in the face of such a traumatic experience. May I ask what happened to you or what inspired your song? I want you to know how much I appreciate you choosing to share your song with me and the people who read my blog. Thank you! I hope that you find comfort and peace this holiday season. Sincerely, Megan

      1. Hi Megan.

        I always say Father’s Day is the worst holiday for me, for it always makes me feel like I’m “half a man” or something. I guess it’s different when I try to express my feelings about this through music as opposed to a straightforward narrative, which is still difficult. Suffice to say the song was an ode to “a child that’ll never be”, where I allowed myself to just imagine what it would be like to experience the blessing of being a father…a parent, and what sort for “legacy” I could have left behind…to someone who could have been “a better version of me.”

        I can only wish you & your husband better days ahead. We all go through what we need to go through to survive…and eventually…to live again.

        Take care always.
        Dennis

      2. Thank you so much for sharing how you feel and for wishing us well. I guess there’s only one thing we can be sure of, which is that we never know what tomorrow will bring. Hopefully we will both have the chance to realize active parenthood. I can assure you that “surviving” is what we’re doing right now — just taking things day-by-day. I wish you the best, too, and hope to hear good things from you in the future!

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