“I wasn’t there that morning when my father passed away.” For me, this is the most haunting line in a song of haunting images. Also for me, the words are true. I was about 10 hours away when my dad’s heart stopped without warning. He was getting some clothes together for my mother who was in a hospital two hours away preparing for her first chemotherapy treatment. Her cancer was likewise sudden and she was getting her treatment as an inpatient since it was to be quite taxing. He went to the emergency room with chest pains and did not make it all the way in the door. One of my friends from high school was a nurse on duty and called to tell me what had happened. I then had to call my mother to explain to her that she could not start her treatment. She needed to attend a funeral instead.
This song brings all of that back to me and more. The pain, ambivalence, and eventual resolution of that season 25 years ago center me in a way that few other experiences ever have. Staying in theme, I’d like to believe my children are the better for it. May whatever feelings this art brings up in you work toward better focus on what you are here to do.