Music the Sounds Of Sorrow

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Music. Up until Joe died, I mostly ignored it or turned it off. I had no idea music could suck me up, spin me around, shake me up, and dump me on my head. Who knew? Well obviously, not I.

Joe enjoyed all kinds of music ranging from Sara Brightman to The Grateful Dead.  Oddly enough, one of the songs that bugged me the most that Joe played over and over was Knocking on Heaven’s Door, by Guns and Roses.

One of the first things Cole and I noticed after Joe died was how quiet our house was. The cd collection grew dusty, since neither of us was too anxious to thumb through it. Cole’s budding music interest dulled. My observation is that for teen musical interest to grow, it needs friction. In other words, someone has to hate the music you love.

This past holiday season, I tried to live in Christmas carol denial. This worked until I noticed Jingle Bells playing incessantly in my head, even in my sleep. I woke up and realized Joe wanted Christmas music, and if I wanted peace, then I would have to start playing Christmas cds.  FYI – dead people really don’t change all that much. Joe is just as bossy and persistent dead as he was alive.

What I have come to learn over the months since Joe died is that you cannot escape music. And now with my new hearing aid, not only can I not escape it, but I can now hear the words.  Recently, I walked into a store and the song What’s New Pussycat? was playing. Before the first Woah, Woah, I was sobbing. When Cole was little Joe would greet him each night after work with the song:

What’s new Coleycat? Woah, Woah
What’s new Coleycat? Woah, Woah
Coleycat, Coleycat
I’ve got candy
And lots of hours
To spend with you.
Coleycat, Coleycat
I love you
and your Coleycat nose
Yes, I do!

Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head has become my theme song. I hear it everywhere. Does this even make sense?  Joe used to sing it when I was mad at him or was trying to describe an especially tragic moment of my day. At the time I was not at all amused. Now, it seems the song is haunting me … and maybe I’m a tad bit amused.

The other day, I heard the theme song for Gilligan’s Island and my eyes teared up. As I had the thought that this was really, really dumb, I flashed back to when Cole was little and would beg us to sing the songs from when “you were olden” before bed each night.  We would rock back and forth belting out “The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship would be lost …” Next, we would slow things down with “There was a lovely lady …” and for our grand finale, our spooky song:

They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They’re all together ooky,
The Ruscitti Family.

Is it any wonder Cole sings and raps the commercials for on the way to school? Joe would be so proud.

While having my nails done, I could hardly believe my hearing aid when Knocking on Heaven’s Door started to play. I still hate that song. John Lennon’s Imagine, the song we chose for Joe’s memorial service, seems to jump out and ambush me with a fair amount of regularity. It was playing recently at my neighborhood Starbucks. During those moments, I wish the music had died.

The music for our slide show, “It’s Not All About Joe – Summing up 2009,” is a Roxy song called “Avalon.”  It was the song Joe and I called ours. It was the song Cole would move to when he was in the womb.  When I wondered for half a breath what piece of music to use, I felt the music Avalon in a place I had never before experienced. It was as though Joe and I touched souls. This feeling was followed by a sense of  homesickness; the unbearable desire to return to a place I could no longer go.  Perhaps this is what grief sounds like.

It does not matter if the song is Knocking on Heaven’s Door (still really hate that song), Imagine, a sitcom theme song or Avalon, it vibrates the memories that Joe, Cole, and  I shared together, and in that moment, my heart knows even music cannot substitute for tears. (Paul Simon, Cool Cool River)

Glad you were in my Odd neighborhood. Feel free to drop by any time. Odd Loves Company and odd loves you and you and you!! I would love to hear from you in the comment section of this blog, or on Facebook or Twitter!

14 thoughts on “Music the Sounds Of Sorrow

  1. Music is very powerful, that is for sure. I listen to the oldies on the radio and I have CDs with the oldies on them. What I do is relive the time of my life that these songs were popular. Like where we were living, what I was doing (going to nursing school, etc.) and, yes, the tears roll. I do this with memories of Dick and also my Dad. Too much some times, so I mostly listen to Michael Buble which is my now time music that I haven’t shared with anyone!!! Well, except my kids! My Joe especially loves it….NOT! But he goes along with me and will even dance with me!!! He must love his mother! Here are some memories….Moon River- theme of Junior/Senior Prom, my first date with Dick; Love, Love Me Do- Senior Play; anything by the doors-Dick; anything by the Turtles-Dick; A Boy Named Sue- living in Vallejo; Angel in the Morning-our apartment in El Paso; Rosemarie- Mike’s name if he was a girl!; Willie Nelson songs- Dick; music from the Fifties (CD I have)- my Dad. Yes, songs are my all time memory retrievers, too.

  2. Thanks again for a most wonderful read Katybeth…music is heaven.. enjoy the gift it can bring you. Brian Ferry was always one of my favorites…

  3. Although my interest in music is very different, there are some classical pieces that transport me to another place, just as you so beautifully wrote. A place where their is happiness, joy and love. This was a great read. Thanks.

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  8. Memories…we always have the good with the bad don’t we? However, they are what our lives are, and to recall the good and bad,still brings the thoughts back that we survived that time and it made us what we are today and please be happy that we can recall them all. Just think happy thoughts from now on.

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