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My Song: "After the Storm" Understands Why I Hold



Joined: 8/12/2009
Posts: 16
abigailmumm
It is more customary to isolate and analyze a specific period in one’s life after the period has passed. But there is something to say for what one thinks and feels during the period. We cannot misjudge our feelings in the midst of feeling them.
“But I won’t rot, I won’t rot. Not this mind and not this heart, I won’t rot.” This line, from Mumford and Sons’ “After the Storm” (from the album Sigh no More) is my prayer for my father. He won’t rot. Not his mind, not his heart. He cannot rot.
A therapist, after learning of my father’s duel diagnoses of mental illnesses, told my mother that a brain tumor has a better prognosis. He would be better cold on his deathbed than going through life blinded and burned.
“And I will die alone, and be left there. Well I guess I’ll just go home, or God knows where. Because death is just so full, and man so small. I’m scared of what’s behind, and what’s before.”
What’s behind is twenty years. Twenty years of my father and mother more in love with each other than seems possible outside of fiction. Twenty years of my father writing love songs far past the realm of love songs. Twenty years of my mother running outside to greet him and twenty years of him carrying her back.
But twenty years of turmoil. Twenty years of my father recoiling from his wife’s affections. Twenty years of not knowing if a word will incite laughter or wrath or ice. Twenty years of begging God that this is the last time: that tonight Daddy will come home.
Before is a double diagnosis: bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. This helps. At least it makes sense. But it will never go away. Medicine and therapy can help, but the disorders will always be there.
No one understands. My mother should be her own woman. She doesn’t have to take this. They say they understand, but they don’t. They hate seeing her hurt. So do I. Fervently, fervently I hate it.
But she sees my father. She sees the strong arm beyond the crippled stub. She sees the deep, rich eye beneath the cloudy haze. “I saw exactly what was true, but oh no more. That’s why I hold. That’s why I hold with all I have. That’s why I hold.”
Not his mind. Not his heart. “And I look up. On my knees and out of luck, I look up.” Please bring him home. Please make us his home. Death is empty. Death is nothing. And though we are small You, Dear God, are great. And that’s why we hold. That’s why we hold with all we have.
“But there will come a time you’ll see, with no more tears. And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears. Get over your hill and see, what you’ll find there. With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.”

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Comment by Justina


Joined: 8/20/2010
Posts: 168
I first heard this song on a mixtape my friend made me, and I thought the lyrics were beautiful. Your essay made the lyrics even more beautiful. I hope you stay strong and keep writing!
Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 9:38:53 AM
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Comment by abigailmumm


Joined: 8/12/2009
Posts: 16
Thank you so much!
Posted: Friday, July 20, 2012 7:29:51 AM
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Comment by SOFLarchive


Joined: 1/6/2012
Posts: 111
That is a beautiful essay. That matches with the song. Excellent writing. I'm sorry about your father. He's in my prayers. I had a friend with bipolar disorder and I supported her. You and your family stay strong.
Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 3:16:09 PM
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Comment by abigailmumm


Joined: 8/12/2009
Posts: 16
Thank you so much for your compliments and your prayers. The latter make all the difference!
Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2012 10:57:13 PM
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Comment by bugcandy


Joined: 11/5/2008
Posts: 286
Congratulations - your essay above has been named a semi-finalist in the July and August StageofLife.com writing contest (where we asked people to share a story about how music played an important role during a unique time in their life).

We had over 9,500 people from around the world visit the StageofLife.com writing contest page during the summer and nearly 200 submitted qualifying essays.

43 essays were named finalists (one of which is yours).

To read a recap of the writing contest, see links to the qualifying essays, and find out who the runners-up and winner are (announced after September 15th, 2012) visit this page: http://www.stageoflife.com/music.aspx

Our 26 Editors are now reviewing the finalists. We'll make an announcement on our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/StageofLife) and via email when the winner is selected.

Thanks again for sharing your story on Stage of Life. Please share the news of being named a finalist with your friends, family and via Facebook / Twitter.

Great essay above, and best of luck!

Stay tuned!

Eric
CEO, StageofLife.com

P.S. If you haven't checked out the current writing contest, you can get to it from here: http://www.stageoflife.com/Writing_Contests.aspx
Posted: Thursday, September 6, 2012 7:29:18 PM
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Comment by abigailmumm


Joined: 8/12/2009
Posts: 16
Thank you so much!
Posted: Thursday, September 6, 2012 11:25:22 PM
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Comment by NicoleLVMullis


Joined: 5/9/2012
Posts: 34
This is a beautiful essay full of love, yearning and courage. Thank you for sharing it.
Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2012 11:56:22 AM
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Comment by abigailmumm


Joined: 8/12/2009
Posts: 16
Thank you!
Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012 8:10:54 PM
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Comment by abigailmumm


Joined: 8/12/2009
Posts: 16
By the way, my dad is doing very well. God is good.
Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012 8:11:56 PM
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Comment by etiquetteguy


Joined: 6/22/2009
Posts: 52
This is a poignant essay. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.
Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2012 3:13:01 PM
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Comment by abigailmumm


Joined: 8/12/2009
Posts: 16
Thank you.
Posted: Monday, September 17, 2012 3:00:16 AM
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