Friday, July 22, 2022

A musical interlude

 Dear John,

The radio was playing The Fray's "How To Save A Life" as I was driving home today.  The chorus hit me pretty hard:

Where did I go wrong? I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

I should have known something was wrong when you were holding my hand while I was sleeping, Monday and Tuesday nights.  I woke up to it and squeezed back just a little.  You never liked to hold hands, but you did it a few times this year on our walks.  I guess you were trying to hold on and stay with us, when you had sort of already decided to go.  

I also wish I had stayed up with you all night - but you knew that was impossible.  When I decided it was bed time, I got in bed and went to sleep.  Unlike you, who would walk around and check the house, adjust the temperature, do a few minor tasks, check the kid, and an hour later finally go to bed, I would say "I'm going to bed" and then be in bed within 10 minutes and asleep within 20.  When you were able to get in bed at the same time...or if you were already there when I got always wanted to talk.  I just wanted to go to sleep, so you would talk, and I would try to listen, and then I would fall asleep.  I'd usually wake up after a few minutes, usually when you had gotten everything off your chest.  You didn't really need me to listen; you just needed to talk.  I called it your lullaby. It put me to sleep every time. But that last night...when you asked if I had heard what you said...I suspect I missed something very important.  I don't know whether you were disappointed or relieved.  I do think you had decided to go through with taking your own life (depending on what the stock market did the next day), and were sort of looking for me to talk you down.  But you didn't give me your usual signals.  And I fell asleep and I think I missed your statement of intent.  I did feel you hold my hand and I wish I could have held on tighter.  I wish it hadn't been a Tuesday, when I was at work for 13 hours and thoroughly exhausted.  I wish you had talked to me earlier.  I wish you could have made different choices and stopped doing the things that made you feel so terribly bad about yourself when you were already anxious and depressed.  I wish a lot of things. 

I also can't get that Glass Animals "Heat Waves" song out of my head - of course, it's on repeat on the radio, but also:

Sometimes all I think about is you
Late nights in the middle of June
Heat waves been faking me out
Can't make you happier now


I just wonder what you're dreaming of
When you sleep and smile so comfortable
I just wish that I could give you that
That look that's perfectly un-sad

You were the music afficionado.  You were always on YouTube, looking for songs, complaining about the ads.  I just listen to what's on the radio - I don't usually seek out particular songs.  But these, and some of the lines in Juice Wrld's "Lucid Dreams" are playing in my head a lot lately.  I wish the iPod that you used all the time could tell me what you listened to the most.  Of course, those weren't your favorite songs necessarily; they were just whatever could drown out the ringing in your head.  I hope you have some pleasant silence, and can access music solely for enjoyment now.  

We did listen to what I have always thought of as "our song" on our recent
trip.  "Shake the Disease" by Depeche Mode - your daughter thought it was a good song.  I'm glad she agrees.  




  1. Music makes everything better no worse. I’ve a song that is forever linked into to my dad, and I obsessively listened to during his last days. I was not with him, but he was and is still “there” when that song plays and he didn’t even get to listen to it. And my eyes get misty and I realise that I have no song that I share with my husband, we have my and his songs. And Pink Floyd, but man, that is ugh. So heavy.

    1. My mom used to listen to her Polish records and cry - her dad died when she was 21. I don't really have a song that reminds me of my dad - but my sisters always talk about how he used to sing McNamara's Band to them.

      And note that *I* thought of that as our song. I don't believe my husband thought we had a song.