If you are friends or family of ours, please do not be offended that I didn't share this site with you. You are more than welcome to stay, read and participate, but be aware that somethings said here are not directed at you. While some of the posts and comments might be uncomfortable for you, remember the purpose of this site: It's dealing with My pain and My Grief that you just can't understand until you lose one of your own. I know you want to help ease my pain (and you have in many ways) but there will always be burdens you can't help me with, so I turn to my fellow bereaved.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Unrequited Love

If you have browsed across these pages, I'm sure you have been able to notice that music plays an important role in my life. When I'm not in the company of family and friends I can usually be found attached to a pair of headphones and an iPod. Growing up I was immersed in music from as early as I can remember. My parents always had music playing in the background - mainly classical. My brothers and I were always enrolled in some music class, whether violin, piano or voice up until we were out of high school. I do have to admit that while I enjoyed the music, I never had the talent to make much more of it than develop a lifelong enjoyment of all things musical. I provide this preface to give some more background to my use of songs as therapy during trying times in my life.

I will lay out the songs as they came to me chronologically and explain what grabbed me about them. Here's a LINK to the zip file with the full MP3's if you're interested in downloading the compilation (~80MB).

When we were planning Olivia's funeral, the funeral home asked us to provide some pictures they could put in a slide-show and put to some music. I immediately knew that this was something I needed to do, it was my fist step into therapy. Immediately I thought of two songs: Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of  Somewhere Over the Rainbow - What a Wonderful World, and Every December Sky by Beth Nielsen Chapman.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow - What a Wonderful World evokes a feeling of peace and hope with it's simplicity of vocals, ukulele, and melody. I chose this song to put a memorial video onto YouTube of our Olivia. The innocence in the song & lyrics just fit so well for a child.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

Every December Sky was the second song I chose for her memorial service. The haunting piano and depth of lyrics still bring tears to my eyes on every hearing. Again there is hope for the future rebirth of life from what seems dead. The sad thing for me is that there are too many times when I lack the faith to feel assured of this rebirth.

Every December sky
Must lose its faith in leaves
And dream of the spring inside the trees.

And if I could hold you now,
You'd enter like a sigh.
You'd be the wind that blows
The answer to why?

Sara suggested we add Enya's If I Could Be Where You Are to her Memorial DVD. I had never really paid attention to the song, but when Sara played it for me a few days after Olivia died, I was just left speechless. It manages to cut to the quick with lyrics like:

Where are you this moment
Only in my dreams
You're missing, but you're always
a heartbeat from me.

I'm lost now without you.
I don't know where you are.
I keep watching,
I keep hoping,
but time keeps us apart.

How can something that was so close to us, something that was a part of us and our future be forever inaccessible?
Is there a road I could follow,
to bring you back home?
... Sigh

Soon after Olivia's Funeral I know my feelings of grief turned more toward anger and frustration at our inability to prevent what most likely had become an inevitable occurrence. My choices in songs show this shift in attitude also. I ran across The Stereophnics - It Means Nothing. The driving refrain punches me in the gut every time.
It means nothing
It means nothing
It means nothing
It means nothing
It means nothing
If I haven't got you

As a friend aptly pointed out on Olivia's Blog
every life, however short means something. Every death means *something*. As the people left behind, it is now our job; a part of our life; to ensure that Olivia's life and our lives mean something. It's a debt to Olivia's memory.

It's easy to despair and believe that Olivia's life was for naught, and now your lives are for naught ... but hers wasn't and yours aren't.

If these things didn't mean something, you wouldn't be grieving.

I think this song captured more of my overall mood at the time, rather than my longterm/permanent outlook on this tragedy. Still it never fails, when this song comes on in my rotation, I turn the volume up and let it carry me away.

James Blunt's - You're Beautiful is a song I've liked for a number of years, but when I heard it late last summer, I just lost it. I was driving home from grocery shopping and actually had to pull over into a side street and let go.

The realization and resignation in this love song that:

You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
You're beautiful, it's true.
There must be an angel with a smile on her face,
When she thought up that I should be with you.
But it's time to face the truth,
I will never be with you.

Will haunt me until I die.

Soon thereafter I stumbled across Adele - Chasing Pavements. While this song is obviously composed as a love song of unrequited love, it hits home because of it's futility in task. How can you ever say enough if you can never say it to them directly...

If i tell the world,
I'll never say enough,
Cause it was not said to you,

And thats exactly what i need to do,
If i'm in love with you,

Should i give up,
Or should i just keep chasing pavements?
Even if it leads nowhere,
Or would it be a waste?
Even If i knew my place should i leave it there?
Should i give up,
Or should i just keep chasing pavements?
Even if it leads nowhere

In my first post here, I mentioned I had found Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars mentioned by a couple of other bloggers. It quickly made its way into my Olivia compilation ... or the 'In Memoriam' playlist as its currently called. Again it's a love song, yet filled with worry about the future.

I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough

"I Love You" is said too often and too lightly, yet with you Olivia, those three words are not enough....

The song Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap appeared at the bottom of my Frame of Reference post. It kind of strikes me as another transitional piece for me, falling still into the Love Song category, but more from the perspective of a jilted lover.

where are we?
what the hell is going on?
the dust has only just begun to form
crop circles in the carpet
sinking feeling
oily marks appear on walls
where pleasure moments hung before the takeover,
the sweeping insensitivity of this still life

Obviously this anger (jilted feeling) is not directed toward Olivia, but toward "The World", "God", a "Greater Power" that supposedly looks out for our wellbeing.

Eric Clapton's - Tears in Heaven has been a song I've always liked, but never gave too much import to it's true meaning until Sara mentioned it a few weeks ago. I sat down in my office and let the message of the song wash over me, which resulted in the brief post ....if I could only believe. Having lost his young child in a tragic accident, the poingancy of his loss comes through in every lyric... how can you chose just one line.

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong
And carry on,
'Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven.

I have always been a big fan of the Counting Crows, for some reason the melancholy they manage to capture in their songs has always been something I have been able to identify with. In A Long December I found solace in the passing of another year, yet remembering to live and not wish time to just pass.

And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

A Long December seems to mark another transition in my healing process. For the first time (since Somewhere Over the Rainbow) there is a move toward acceptance and a hope for the future, without just discarding the past.

Jack Johnson's - Monsoon is another song that's been with me for quite a while, yet it's meaning has completely changed viewed from this side of grief. The symbolism surrounding tears in the lyrics is extremely powerful. Sadness, relief, rebirth.

When all of life
Is in one drop of the ocean
Waiting to go home
Just waiting to go home
And if the moon
Can turn the tides it can pull the tears
And take them from our eyes
Turn them into monsoons
Make them into monsoon-er or later
They'll weep their way back to the sea
Going to finally be free
Free for a while
Until they break
Like waves of sorrow always break
All in due time
Because time never waits

Lately I have attempted to continue down my 'healing track' of acceptance, by focusing more on songs like Do You Realize by The Flaming Lips. I first came across this song before Sara and I were married, on hearing it she commented on the sadness of the lyrics. I think the finality of the lyric struck her.

Do You Realize - that everyone you know someday will die
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun don'-go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Yet I tend to see it a little differently. It reminds me to not take anything, any time for granted. I also like the hope provided in the last two lines, so sunsets (death) are an illusion created by the world spinning (our point of observation)... that means life must carry on, just beyond our seeing.... right?

The final two songs that I've added to Olivia's Compilation continue to push me into acceptance and 'goodbye', whether I'm ready for that or not, they're needed to fill out this collection. The Beatles - Golden Slumbers has always been a favorite 'lullaby' of mine, yet never did I think I'd need it for a Memorial Collection.

Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Goodnight by The Rembrandts a fitting closing bookend for Olivia.

When you need someone, that you can turn to
Honey don't you know-You can turn to me
And if you need a hand, to help you hold on
Honey don't you know-You can hold on me
Because you've given me the moon
Oh of this you're unaware
And you'll be moving on so soon
To the life that's waiting out there
Goodnight my sweet angel-It's time to close your eyes
Goodnight my sweet angel-I'll see you when you rise

By tomorrow morning, you'll have been gone longer than we ever had you. I Miss You. I Love You.


  1. I briefly visited this post this morning but had to dash as I had a work meeting to go to. So I have just made it back and have now listened to all these songs. They are so beautiful and such a wonderful tribute to Olivia.

    These milestones are tough on you. They do however provide the punctuation for your grief over this first year. This doesn't make them any easier, but it does mean they are not without meaning.

    I have just downloaded from itunes several of the songs I didn't have (I like to own originals).

    Peace and Healing

  2. Ben I think it's wonderful that you have music to comfort you, to remind you, to make you really think about Olivia. The music went out of my life the day my son died and I have not been able to enjoy much of it anymore since. If something reminds me of Calvin, I find it hard to listen to because it tears me apart inside, so I shut it off. I envy you for having the ability to live through the music and feel the pain, for me it's just one more reminder of how empty my life is at times. Hugs


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