Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 5:19:28 PM
Two years ago, my mother died from a heart attack. To many in my family, it wasn’t a sudden death although in my mind I would have never considered it happening,--for it to have truly been the end. My mother became very sick before she died and had slipped into a coma, which eventually led to a heart attack. However, this is not going to be a sad, sympathetic tale about my life. I know she wouldn’t have wanted it to be that way. This is my story how music comforted me in dealing with such a loss, and shaped my outlook on life for the better.
Throughout my life, music had always been my escape from reality. In troubling times whether it was in my family, personal matters, or just when I felt the weight of life upon my shoulders, music served as an emotional safe haven in my mind. It assured me that I had the strength to get through anything. After my mother passed away, once again the music was there for me.
Dealing with how the experience impacted me was difficult and confusing. I felt that even though my dad was still around, I wouldn’t have that feminine role model to confide in about the girly things such as boyfriends, or makeup. I was left with so much to say, there was so much I needed to tell her before she was gone. However, I figured that she would have heard me then... wherever she was. Therefore, I listened to some music that inspired me, and decided to compose my feelings into a song, or rather lyrics actually. I needed to somehow write down everything I was feeling in such a perfect way that could be understood.
There was one song that I could completely relate to during this time. I would not have written my song if it weren’t for “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls. The raw emotion and beauty within the music and lyrics surrounded me as I was sitting in my old apartment listening through my ear phones. This was a song my mother used to sing. I had never understood the meaning for the lyrics, or why she had loved it until that moment. I understood the spoken verses in the introduction of the song immediately as they transformed into beautiful, meaningful lyrics. “And I'd give up forever to touch you 'cause I know that you feel me somehow, you're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be, and I don't want to go home right now, and all I can taste is this moment, and all I can breathe is your life, and sooner or later it's over, I just don't wanna miss you tonight.”
In that moment I could feel her presence, and believed she was in heaven. Honestly, she was probably much happier than she could ever have been here on earth spending the rest of her life tired and miserable from being sick. With that being said, I didn’t want to feel sadness even though it was normal in grieving, because she was finally happy. After all of her struggles, I knew that instant she would want me to carry on being happy.
Although, even though I knew this was true, it still didn’t take away from the fact I still was coping with the entire event of the loss as the chorus rang out, “and I don't want the world to see me because I don't think that they'd understand, when everything's made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am.” No one would understand the relationship between my mother and I, and was not expecting anyone to.
I just didn’t want people to see me so distraught because I was going through so much that even I didn’t understand. (“and I don't want the world to see me because I don't think that they'd understand, when everything's made to be broken”) All I knew was that this was an experience I had to overcome that made me a much stronger and better person than I was. The stronger person was the one that I wanted people to know me as. (“I just want you to know who I am”).
Listening to “Iris” through my little iPod with the volume not on blast, but just enough to feel the music when I closed my eyes was amazing. By feeling the comfort of the melody, I was inspired to write my own lyrics in order to deal with the process of grieving in hope that one day I would be able to sing it and have it recorded with some music.
My mother’s passing has made me a stronger more understanding person than I was before. If I had not been with music to help me find an understanding, I don’t know what kind of person I would be. If anything, the loss has made me nothing more but grateful for the things I have as I continue my life, because you never truly know what you have until it’s gone.