What’s In A Song?

I was driving to work to the new job, which happens to be only a block away from the old job.   Consequently, I drive the same way to the new job as I did the old job.  While driving I remembered those first days, weeks of going back to work after Mike had died.

Even though it had been some months since his death I was still dealing with “loose ends” that resulted from his death.    The astronomical medical bills, what to do with his things, the lack of life insurance and the mounting debt along with my unemployed status. I was also dealing with two lawsuits filed against me as a result of Mike’s death; one by his son and the other by his ex-wife.   These lawsuits were funded by my in-laws, Mike’s parents. I wrote about SOME of it here under Category: Courtroom Drama. https://rosechimera.wordpress.com/2007/04/18/his-first-wife-sued-me/

Every single day I would drive to work crying.  I couldn’t listen to the radio because it seemed every song held some memory of Mike and me and therefore pain.  I found I could listen to only one song.  Over and over repeatedly I played the song on my iPod. It would make me cry, but I felt better when listening to it.  This one song was the only song I listened to, literally for months!  The song is by the group Hillsong and when they came to Los Angeles in a concert I went to see them–because I HAD to!  The video below is from that concert.

I knew I must have just lost my mind, listening to the one song over and over for so many days.  I knew I had to break whatever sick habit I had found myself in so I rode in silence with only my thoughts to keep me company.  It really made no difference. Even when I insisted I not play that song it was still in my head.   It was as if I was addicted to a song!  Can that really happen?

I would cry from the time I got into my car to the time I arrived at work.  I would steel myself for the day and be somewhat ok while working.    I’d cry in the morning when boss wasn’t looking.  I’d cry at lunchtime and I’d cry in the afternoons.  When a client came in or I had to answer the phone I managed to suck it up and stop the waterfall of tears.

I would tell myself if I can stop crying to do my job then I should just stop the crying!  If I keep it up I’ll become dehydrated.  I would leave work and cry on my way home.  Every single day it was the same thing.  Every single day for weeks and weeks…months the same thing…drive to work sobbing the entire way, listening to THE SONG.

I thought I was being irrational.  I thought I was being weak.  I thought perhaps I’ve had some sort of mental breakdown and that was the reason behind the tears.

Only two people in the world, other than me, knew about this song…my daughter and my friend Les W.  They knew I listened to the song and sobbed.  Neither of them criticized nor told me that I needed to stop. Neither even offered an opinion one way or the other that I recall.  If they had offered an opinion it would have been kind and understanding.

I eventually dragged myself to a doctor.  I knew there was something wrong with me, or I thought there was.   This time I wanted a miracle pill.  Something that would set the world back on its axis.   The doctor wanted to give me pills.  Ok, will it stop me crying?  Will it plug up the floodgates? He said they might.  You see, my reluctance about going to a doctor for treatment of something I considered to just be emotional ..in my head was because I had gone to a doctor about four weeks after Mike had died.

I had woken up one day and my hands were in extreme pain…as if I had slammed them repeatedly in a heavy car door.  I couldn’t use them, I couldn’t function. So I went to our primary care physician.  He was Mike’s doctor too.   He knew somehow that Mike had died and I suppose he and his staff had thought I came to him for….well I don’t know really.  His nurse came in to talk to me and then she started crying.  She didn’t say anything but just hugged me and fled the room.  I was sitting acting stoic and composed.  Doctor came in and sat down in his rolling stool and said, “there’s nothing I can give you that will make it better.   There’s nothing I can give you that will make it hurt less.”  Ok.  Thanks.  But, uh…I’m not here for that, its my hands you see?  There’s something wrong with them and I can’t use them.   He was a little surprised I guess because he had misunderstood why I was there.  That was ok with me though I didn’t hold his mistake against him.

I was referred to a specialist who did tests, xrays, gave me pills, shots in my hands and braces to wear…but was unable to tell me what was wrong with my hands.  Eventually that treatment worked and the pain subsided and eventually went away.

Grief is a horrible thing to go through alone.  No one to tell you if its right or if its wrong or if you’re not handling life well.  No one to tell you anything because they simply can’t.  Grief is a very personal thing. We all go through it alone and even differently.  We’ve all heard that there’s stages of grief and I know from experience that one goes through these stages at different times.  I also learned that grief waits…patiently for you to acknowledge it.  A week, month, even years it will wait.

Perhaps it was getting hit with the two lawsuits just four months after Mike died that caused me to derail off the grief train.  I had to focus on the legal fallout of Mike’s death and how it impacted me.  It was easy to focus on that rather than his absence.

While I was in the throes of the lawsuits my sister (whom I had not seen nor spoken to in 14 years since our father died) called me to tell me mom was dying.  Mom had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just like Mike.

I wondered what I had done to have to be burdened with so much?

Mike’s death, the lawsuits and now mom too?

How much can one person handle without suffering a complete breakdown…one that cannot be recovered from?

Apparently, more than that since I’m still here and conscious!

Life does go on though doesn’t it?  Even when we might not want it to.

I listened to that song today.  I’m like one of Pavlov’s dogs…I just started sobbing at about the fifth cord.  Did I sob because of the memory of how important that song was to me?  I don’t know.  Did I sob because of whatever reason the song caused me to in the first place?  I don’t know.  The song certainly “speaks to my heart” and it holds a lot of meaning for me.  The words kept me going through some of the absolutely darkest days of my entire life. I do know that it had the same impact on me today as it did during those first days I first drove to work.

Whenever I need a good cry, that release of emotions that build up all I have to do is listen to that song, and the flood gates open.  I feel better afterward though and perhaps that’s the wonder of music for so many of us.  It causes us to FEEL even when we don’t want to.

6 thoughts on “What’s In A Song?

  1. That’s a very touching post, Rose. I think you’re right that we need to let those emotions have their release rather than bottling them up. There is something so sad and yet also such a relief about crying. I feel sorry for people when they want to cry and insist on fighting back the tears. That seems to be quite common with men unfortunately. I don’t think our society is understanding enough towards men in allowing them to show their emotions without being labeled as “weak”. I have a song which I mentioned on my blog around Christmas time. It makes me think of my mother and cry. We don’t have a great relationship, and it’s her favourite carol. I played it over and over and over again near to Christmas and just cried and cried and cried. For some reason, that’s what I wanted to do. It’s strange, but sometimes we just need to do that. xx


  2. There are a few songs that remind me of my mom and make me cry. There were days when I listened to them over and over again, sobbing to the words. After 4 years these songs still remind me of my mom, but I can listen to them without breaking down. But I still lose it at times, sob over my losses, and I know it’s normal. You’ve been through so much and you keep moving forward. For that you should be proud. You’re allowed to cry. You can listen to the same song over and over again. I actually did the same thing when my dear grandfather died – my first true loss and battle with grief. We do what we need to to get through the grief. Take care. Hugs.


  3. The tears will come, sooner or later. You can hold them back for a while, but like you said, when things get still they come right back.
    In a way, it’s nice to have a trigger that will produce them at times that are convenient. There’s no shame in taking advantage of that and keeping ahead of them. The sadness doesn’t go away so it’s good to have a way to help manage it.


      • Well my dad is still very much alive, but a song that makes me think of him is ‘The shadow of your smile’ because, he always played it on piano.

        Also quite a few songs from a band called Brand New, can easily bring me to tears. In fact, it was quite embarrassing seeing them live, I was bawling my eyes out.

        And my ex and I, well I suppose our song was Janet Jackson’s All Nite (Don’t stop). I think we first had sex to that album lol. So… yeah 😉

        My gran… well that’s Ave Maria. It was her favourite song. Played it at her funeral.


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