Posted on Aug 6, 2016 in Blog |
As I stated in my earlier post:
During Dad’s 26 days and nights in the hospital, I listened to particular songs depending on what I needed. The music helped close out the hospital noises, helped me calm my breathing and anxiety, and it gave me a place for my emotions to connect and feel safe.
This music transcended me at times. It felt as though I was talking to Dad in some of the songs, giving words to emotions that were so strong, I wasn’t sure I could survive the pain.
Some of the songs were significant in their melodic tone, some were because of the specific lyrics, and some, because they allowed my tears to flow more easily. And some were my simple prayers to God, pleading for Him to heal Dad.
Some of us connect through words, some through deeds and others through music.
In my pain, when I couldn’t find my words, these songs found them for me.
I probably should have researched what each of these songs meant to the songwriters, but at the time I was choosing them, it didn’t matter. What mattered was how I could maintain hope, a sense of balance, and my connection to Dad.
These are the songs that ended up on my list.
The Songs with Words
About You – the Breakthrough by Mary J. Blige
Every now and then, I needed to hear the voice of a strong woman who has risen above her struggles and succeed in being the woman God wanted her to be. Mary J. Blige is one of those amazing women who defeated demons in her life and now brings joy and light to others.
“I am in the place with the love / Yeah, it feels, it feels good / (It’s a new life for me, yeah)”
The Big Love Has Died – 7 by Seal
I still cry every single time I hear this song. The love between a father and daughter is a Big Love. And mine has died.
“So confused, I’m amazed, I refused to believe you’d never change in my time spent with you”
“And I believed in everything you aspired to be”
“And I’m past all the grieving”
“Something inside of me breaks / When I get your phone call / And I just can’t hide / The big love has died”
“There is a love that’s real I’ll always feel and that I can’t deny / But it’s the friend in me this time you see that has to say goodbye / Quietly you and me, time to say goodbye”
“Nothing can take away / The pain and the sorrow, everything at stake”
Big Sky Country – Living with the Law by Chris Whitley
This song let me dream about those places in our country that still offer big open skies, untouched mountains, and the grace of God. In the hospital room, I would take Dad’s and my souls to the Big Sky Country. Standing on the mountaintops, we BREATHED, slow, long, and deep filling our lungs with healing energy.
“Now when this over, over and through / And all them changes have come and passed / I wanna meet you in the big sky country / Just wanna prove, mama, love can last”
Bittersweet Symphony – this is Music: The Singles, 92-98 by The Verve
Life had been good and not so good. Now was not so good. I wanted God to hear my prayers and I wanted his answer to be yes.
“It’s a bittersweet symphony, that’s life / ‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life”
“Well I’ve never prayed, but tonight I’m on my knees, yeah / I need to hear some sounds that recognize the pain in me / I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now / But the airways are clean and there’s nobody singing to me now”
Daylight Saving – 7 by Seal
Exhaustion, a desperate hope for life to go back to BEFORE. I wanted to give up. I wanted to push all the angst away. We had to keep fighting but I couldn’t imagine how Dad had any strength left to fight another day.
“Daylight save me all my head like I’ve had enough / Of all the changes I’ve been through lately”
“Daylight save me again ‘cause I feel like giving up / On all of the places I’ve been to lately”
“You and I were like the weather / You and I, like sun and rain / White flag I surrender / Maybe now we’ll find a way / But we’re not still together”
“Daylight save me again ‘cause I know I can’t keep it up / With all the faces I see through lately”
“But we’re not still together / We’re not the same”
“‘Cause nothing lasts forever / Been so long”
“We deny it when you’re losing me / I’m losing you through the night into the break of day”
“Because it’s been so dark so long / I can’t tell what’s going on / Two hearts beat together / A single flame / But we’re not still together”
Do You Ever – 7 by Seal
I had no idea on the morning of February 29th that my life course would be forever altered. I had no idea of the changes that lay ahead and the time and energy it would take to pick my life up again.
“Do you find every now and then / You’ll be somewhere and your life is not the same”
“It’s gonna take some time / We got to know that what we did is real / I’m away, this time going to pick my life up again / Sowing what we reap is real”
“In the middle of the masquerade there’s a clown to see / Everybody’s laughing / Wears his frown upside down / So he can save the tears / For when he cries himself to sleep”
Echad B’Echad – Sanctuary by YofiYah
We are all one. We are all part of the same Source. Everything we do affects one another. It is important to remember that we do to others, we do to ourselves.
“One into one / One becomes one”
Every Time I’m With You – 7 by Seal
I felt my heart breaking every day as his decline hastened. This man who was so different from me, and yet so much the cause of who I am today.
“There is so much at stake / Hearts too soft to break / But we don’t need to go there / Cause we’re like summer and rain / You and I are not the same / That’s what makes it perfect”
Good Life – Waking Up by OneRepublic
Dad often counted his blessings fully. He reminded the entire family to count our blessings and to be grateful for the great life we had been given.
“We have our stories but please tell me / What there is to complain about”
“When you’re happy like a fool, let it take you over / When everything is out you gotta take it in”
“Oh, this has gotta be the good life / This could really be a good life, good life”
“I say, ‘Oh, got this feeling that you can’t fight’”
“Hopelessly I feel like there might be something that I’ll miss / Hopelessly I feel like the window closes oh so quick”
“Hopelessly I’m taking a mental picture of you now / ‘Cause hopelessly the hope is we have so much to feel good about”
Human Beings – Seal: Best 1991-2004 by Seal
The answer is always love. Whether we are living or dying. Love will give us peace of heart and connect us all. This song reinforced that to me. It reminded me we are finite in our bodies, but infinite in our souls.
“It is only love I feel that will give us peace of heart / In my hour of desperate need I feel closer to the One / Oh but why?”
“Tell me is it death you feel that will bring you peace of life?”
“We’re mere human beings we die; It’s destined”
I’m Alive by Seal
I knew I would survive this crisis, but when it became evident that Dad would not, this song became my prayer to God to help me keep going, to keep moving forward, to do all that I needed to do to be there for Mom and Dad in the worst moment of their lives.
“Fell on my feet this morning / Two angels heard me cry /This is your fate hereafter”
“The future is my friend / It hurts, but it treats me well / Take hold and be its master”
“I’m alive, older and strong / Let me be someone / I’ll take hold and be its master”
“So many parts that I have to play / A tangle with life set me up that way / Now I know these are the words that I have to say / Won’t you let me / Won’t you hear me cry”
Immaculate – System by Seal
I walked through each day not knowing what to be fearful of and what to simply accept. I needed to see God’s love and I needed my Dad. I wanted to take Dad by the hand and leave the hospital and just live in a dream where everything was ok.
“If all the world could see your smile”
“I walked through day / What should I might fear / Word can’t describe this love I need”
“But now I testify before you now / No wasting time / No waiting then”
“I don’t wanna lose control when it comes to rains / I don’t wanna be the one to never seize the day / I want you to come with me break away from the unnatural”
“We were living for the world / Living in a dream”
Latch (feat. Sam Smith) – Settle by Disclosure
I didn’t want to let go of Dad. In life, or in death, I found it very difficult to let go. I only wanted to hold onto him even more tightly. I didn’t want to lose my Daddy.
“You lift my heart up when the rest of me is down / You, you enchant me even when you’re not around / If there are boundaries I will try to knock them down / I’m latching on, babe, now I know what I have found”
“Now I’ve got you in my space, I won’t let go of you / Got you shackled in my embrace, I’m latching onto you “
“I’m latching onto you (I’m latchin’ on) / I won’t let go of you (I won’t let go, I’m latching onto you / I won’t let go of you”
Letting Go – 6: Commitment by Seal
I knew I needed to let go. But God, it hurt.
“Always a feeling inside every time that you go / Letting go “
Life in Technicolor – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends by Coldplay
Dad was in the hospital from February 29th through March 26th – during those days, we saw snow, rain and sunshine from his window. The sirens from the ambulances would ring through occasionally. Death was approaching and we could do nothing to stop it. And yet, we found beauty in the most common moments. Miracles happened in that room every week. Just not necessarily the miracles we were asking for.
“There’s a wild wind blowing down the corner of my street”
“I could hear rain coming, I could hear the sirens sound / Now my feet won’t touch the ground”
“Time came a-creeping, oh, and time’s a loaded gun / Every road is a ray of light / It goes on, time only can lead you on”
“Still, it’s such a beautiful night”
Life on the Dancefloor – 7 by Seal
Dad’s strength and determination during this crisis astounded me at times. His character strength played a significant role in living as long as he did. Each day and night brought challenges for us to focus on.
“You’re the angel that I can be / You amaze me”
“Hold on tight that I get it right / When you take a night / (For whatever it gives to me) / Hold on tight / Let it go all right / But I’ll get it right”
“Life on the dancefloor / Here we go / Once again / ‘Til the end / Life on the dancefloor / Here we go / Once again / Life . . .”
“Come on baby I can understand / I feel your heartbeat”
Low – X & Y – by Coldplay
Dad’s perception of the world and mine were not always in sync. We definitely didn’t always live in perfect symmetry, but we did the best we could. In the end, in those final 26 days and nights, we shared the priceless moments filled that only impending death surrounded by pure love can bring forth.
“You see the world in black and white / No color or light / You think you’ll never get it right / But you’re wrong, you might”
“The sky could fall, could fall on me / The parting of the sea / But you mean more, mean more to me than any color I can see”
“All you ever wanted to be / Living in perfect symmetry”
“You see the world in black and white / Not painted right”
“Don’t you wanna see it? Come soon / Floating in a big white balloon / Or given on your own silver spoon”
“Don’t you wanna see it come down there for throwing your arms around / And say, ‘You’re not a moment too soon’”
Mad Word – The Passion – Seal
It was hard to reconcile the outside world with what was happening in Dad’s hospital room. I couldn’t connect with people angry at a slow grocery clerk. I didn’t care about the political turmoil of our country. I just wanted Dad to be able to breathe.
“And I find it kind of funny, kind of sad / I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take where people are running in circles / It’s a mad world.”
“All around me are familiar faces, worn out places, worn out faces / Bright and early for the daily races going nowhere, going nowhere / Their tears are filling up their glasses
/ No expression, no expression / Hide my head I wanna drown my sorrow / No tomorrow, no tomorrow”
“And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad / The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had / I find it hard to tell you / I find it hard to take when people run in circles / It’s a very, very mad world, mad world”
Newborn Friend – Seal II by Seal
No matter what I do, the world will go on. I can renew my faith, I can meditate and chant, but I can’t change the ending. I can only change my perspective.
“I wash my faith in dirty water ‘cause it gives my mind a little order / And I play that game, just like I should do but my whole world, slips away”
“I live my life, I live it slowly and I take my time, I’m in no hurry / I’m livin’ and when I go then I would surely / I would dance with a total stranger and hold them in my arms / Hell, there could be no danger if I open up ’cause when the cryin’ starts”
“If I chant for happiness, maybe that will make me feel better / I can’t change my ideals, I can’t lose my desire / Oh, if I chant for happiness, maybe that will make me feel better / I’d be your newborn friend for the world”
“Well, I wash my face in dirty water / For life I have no order ‘cause I know that feeling when you’ve tried to make your way out nothing mends so you search for the breed of the problems there lying deep down in the soul and if, they never end”
“Here’s a whole bunch of reasons, tryin’ to get out but they can’t make it out of the door /
Oh, I know the reason, I’m not enough / There’s nothing more”
“If I chant for happiness, maybe that will make me feel better / I can’t changes my ideals, I can’t put out the fire / Oh, if I chant for happiness, maybe that will bring us together for the better/ I can’t changes my ideals, I can’t lose my desire / I’m just a newborn friend for the world”
New Day – Girl on Fire by Alicia Keyes
This was my theme song after a long night in Dad’s room. I had to revitalize, refocus and get us ready to fight again. The percussion in this song totally rocks.
“It’s a new day, it’s a new day / The world is getting ready, everybody’s ready for a new day, for a new day / Celebrate!”
“It’s alright to feel however you want to / There’s no limitation no / Fill up your life, let me see your hands up one time / I celebrate mine, cause I ain’t gonna get no more / So we can do this all night one time”
“There’s a feeling that I got that I can’t give up / Feeling in my heart that I can’t get over
I know that it’s coming let the sun come up / Tell me do you feel the same”
“Take a look in my eyes, can’t you see I’m ready / Come along, let’s get it / If you wanna touch the sky, hands in the air one time / All night, and all day / I’mma live it loud like there’s only one life / Left to live it up, one life left to live it up”
“Clock’s on the wall / It’s now or never at all / I’m gonna give it my all / Whether I rise or fall / I’m gonna give it my all”
Open Water – The Alchemy Index: Vol. 1 & 2: Fire Water by Thrice
This song took me under. At times, I already felt as though I was drowning with fear. This song validated the fear and gave me strength to keep trying. God giveth and God taketh away. I was desperately trying to keep Him from taking Dad away.
“The open water chills me to my bones but it’s the only place that I feel alive”
“The ocean floor begins to disappear / I sense that terrible depth / The open water is my only fear but I’ll sail as long as I still have breath in me”
“I’m starting to believe the ocean’s much like you ‘cause it gives and it takes away”
“Between the devil and the deep blue sea I stare into the abyss / The open water is an awful thing but I’m anxious till the anchor is aweigh”
Padded Cell – 7 by Seal
Combination of knowing how many people relied on Dad and he took that responsibility so very seriously. He spent much time at work because he felt it was his duty to God and to his community.
The last line reminded me that I had thought of other options in my own life, but I choose instead to live. I needed Dad to choose to live and fight another day as well.
“Come in Mr. Samuel. How would you describe yourself? / I live my life, I live my life / I live my life, I’m a trusted man / Many people confused me but I’m a very good hand”
I’m a real estate / You can live on me / Always there when you need me / Anybody can see”
“I live my life, in the attic room / It’s 150, but I could hold my cool while the people downstairs they all depend on me / Always there when they need me / But you know it ain’t easy”
“I must admit that I, I thought about the other way but I live and fight another day”
Perfect Moment – Gentle Land by Peter Gabriel Byrne
Within so many fear filled moments, I had many perfect moments with Dad in those final 26 days and nights.
“Once in a while you will reach for that perfect moment and that moment is yours / And you’ll see, you will see, at its essence and feel the fullness of life”
“Hold onto that moment / Don’t let it slip from your grasp / Remember the feeling, this feeling, oh, if you can make it last”
Pictures of You – Pictures of You by The Last Goodnight
We taped photos up all around Dad’s hospital room of our trip to Turks and Caicos. We wanted to give him something to look forward to, to want to do again. The pictures brought great joy to Dad. Now, the photos offer comfort to the survivors. The daily battle against infection was like a boxing match, desperately trying to find the cause and the cure.
“Pictures of you, pictures of me / Hung up on your wall for the world to see / Pictures of you, pictures of me / Remind us all of what we used to be”
“Confess to me every secret moment, every stolen promise you believe / Confess to me, all that lies between us, all that lies between you and me”
“We are the boxers in the ring / We are the bells that never sing / There is a title we can’t win no matter how hard we must swing”
Rolling – System by Seal
We couldn’t get a diagnosis from the doctors or find the source of the sepsis. Every morning when I rolled out of bed, I prayed for a clarity of diagnosis. Each day in the hospital felt like 17 months of a year.
I knew Dad wanted to live and I wanted to do all I could to help him achieve his goal. When it became clear that would not happen, I asked God to lead him home.
“All my life I’ve been selling the truth of a lifeless soul / All my life I’ve been waiting for something to lead me home”
“You haven’t seen what I saw17 months a year when it rained / By all the power in me I do what I have to now”
“Rolling out of my bed I still can’t find the truth I’ve been searching for”
“They see the trouble with me is that I’m one who knows but I just don’t understand / Rolling back my head I think I’ve learned that I do wanna live again”
“All my friends they’ve been telling me you are the kindred soul / All my friends if they only knew who I was before but they haven’t been where I’ve been 17 months a year /
That’s such a normal place I don’t wanna live in fear”
“So I tried to go on / Still I’d like to go on in this world / Well, that’s life, we go on / Life will go on in this world”
“And they see the trouble with me is that I’m one who knows but now I understand / Rolling back my head I think I’ve learned that I do wanna live again / I still wanna live again”
“All my life I’ve been telling the truth of a lifeless soul / All my life I’ve been waiting for something to lead me home”
Silence – 6: Commitment by Seal
It was the silence that was hard to accept at times. When Dad could no longer speak, when words didn’t communicate. When all we had were prayers.
Silence is cruel and bright when you’ve been up all night / Silence can’t be any louder when you’re gone / How can it be any louder when you’re gone? / I have this need for love and dreaming is not enough / Baby it’s three in the morning and sleep is not easy.
Silence in your voice screaming I have no choice cause I’m angry, Angry and lonely
Square One – X & Y by Coldplay
Dad, I know you want to live, so you have to fight. Fight, and you will survive. What do you need to fight? Tell me and I will get it for you, do it for you. Just tell me what you need and I’ll be here for you.
“You’re in control, is there anywhere you wanna go? / You’re in control, is there anything you wanna know? / The future’s for discovering, the space in which we’re traveling”
“From the top of the first page to the end of the last day / From the start in your own way / You just want somebody listening to what you say / It doesn’t matter who you are”
“Under the surface, trying to break through deciphering the codes in you / I need a compass, draw me a map / I’m on the top, I can’t get back”
“First line of the first page to the end of the last place / You were looking from the start in your own way”
Take it All – 21 by Adele
Realizing that he was dying and there was nothing left to do . . . .
“Didn’t I give it all? / Tried my best / Gave you everything I had / Everything and no less / Didn’t I do it right? / Did I let you down?”
“Still how can you walk away from all my tears? / It’s gonna be an empty road without me right here / But go on and take it / Take it all with you / Don’t look back at this crumbling fool”
“Just take it all with my love / Take it all with my love””
Thy Will Be Done– SongVersation by India.Arie
My daily prayer before during and after Dad’s illness and death.
“Let my hands be used, to build and not destroy. / Let my words speak truth to every girl and boy / Make my feet to go wherever there is need / Let my light so glow, that all may see you in me.”
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven / Thy will be done, lord, Thy kingdom come.”
“May I have clarity of mind that the righteous path has seen / Let me see the God in every living thing / Let me use my art for the healing of humanity / Let me live my life that with every breath I breathe, Thy will be done.”
“Fire burn, burn my pride / Fire burn, blaze it!”
Walking on Dream – Empire of the Sun
Sometimes, I felt as though my soul connected with Dad’s and we roamed wherever we wanted to go. I was indeed in awe of all in front of me. As our souls connected in these journeys, it was like the best dream ever.
“Walking on a dream / How can I explain? / Talking to myself / Will I see again?”
“We are always running for the thrill of it, thrill of it / Always pushing up the hill searching for the thrill of it”
“On and on and on we are calling out and out again / Never looking down I’m just in awe of what’s in front of me”
“Is it real now? / When two people become one / I can feel it when two people become one”
“Thought I’d never see the love you found in me / Now it’s changing all the time / Living in a rhythm where the minute’s working overtime”
“Don’t stop, just keep going on / I’m your shoulder, lean upon / So come on, deliver from inside / All we got is tonight / That is right ’til first light”
Who Wants to Live Forever by Seal
Not knowing if Dad would survive this crisis, I did my best to find the sweet moments at every possible turn. I needed to have those memories to hold onto forever.
“Who wants to live forever / No one / There’s no chance for us / It’s all decided for us / This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us”
“When love must die / But touch my tears with your lips / Touch my world with your fingertips and we can love forever and we can have forever / Forever is ours today”
“We only have one chance to live”
Yes, we only have one chance to live. Remember that before the harsh words pass through your lips. Remember that if you haven’t spoken of love yet today. Remember that when you see a stranger in need of help. We only have one chance. Take it. Take the chance every day that you are alive. Make it count.
Dad and I struggled at times to develop our relationship. It was a rocky road at times. We both held onto our own demons at times. But in those final 26 days and nights, when it was just family members, I witnessed the most amazing miracles. I witnessed Dad transform as he prepared for death. I witnessed the love among 17 individuals strengthen like steel. I witnessed final moments, funny moments. I offered Dad what I knew to help him make this final departure. Because of his deep love for me, he allowed me to become his teacher and his guide.
Dad’s body is gone, but his soul continues in this realm and another. He is still with me, but in ways I find impossible to scribe onto paper. For now, these songs keep him close to me and remind me of the many miracles we witnessed and were a part of.