We all come into the world new. Without our say or knowing, life happens to us. I have had many experiences shape me, which is really the whole purpose of this blog. Reliving moments in time by grabbing the frayed edges of memory.
But recently, something has been part of my story that has shaped me in a painful way. In the pain, music has been healing. For me, it’s been the song “Let It Matter”by Johnnyswim from their album Georgica Pond.
Let me say that no one likes pain, especially pain in grieving. If the sure bets in life are death and taxes, then you’re bound to experience the pain associate with loss. And no one likes it. Why would you? It’s painful. Pain demands to be felt. And no one wants to feel it. The avoidance of it ends up seeping into your life in physical ways. I would know. Because it did with me.
I remember when my brother and sister-in-law told me that they were expecting. I remember the excitement and inherent joy. Meeting someone that has my brother’s ears and my sister-in-law’s creativity? I. am. here. for. it. It was truly thrilling for me to become an aunt. Mostly because I have sassy aunts and have been marking my calendar days until I got to inherit that coveted role.
Sewing is a hobby that my grandmothers kept up. Relics of their heritage, I picked it up because I wanted something I could do to keep them close in my life, since they had been absent for so long. So, I did what my heritage inspires me to do: I sewed for my nephew. I remember the excitement I had making the burp-cloths with foxes dressed in bow ties. So much of me in that project. Practical and cute.
Two weeks before his due date, I got a call.
It’s so foolish to believe you’re immune from that life changing call. That call that tells you the surgery was unsuccessful. That call that tells you that someone is no longer here. That call that tells you that it’s over.
I didn’t realize how foolish I was.
I was at work, pacing around a conference room filled with chalk, fake tattoos, stickers, hula hoops. Signs of my summer spent with kids. I felt it was ironic given what was happening to me.
My nephew died. My sister-in-law went in for an ultrasound and he was dead – two weeks before his due date. I blurt it out, because I still don’t know how to tell people. As mentioned previously, people don’t like pain or grief. It’s hard, uncomfortable, and awkward. The heartbreak of August 18, 2016 continues. Some days it’s a low hum. Some days it’s a high pitched scream. It’s always the 18th of each month – just like today.
The rest of the year brought job changes and distractions from the pain that I avoided. Which is pretty ridiculous, because I was avoiding the unavoidable. I was either sleeping too much or too little. I was experiencing anxiety over the most trivial things.
It was the manifestation of my grief in a very tangible way.
I had heard of Johnnyswim, as most white women have, from the HGTV show Fixer Upper. If you’re living under a rock, it’s a husband and wife that flip houses for clients and this band sings their theme song “Home”.
They released the Georgica Pond album in October, two months after my nephew Wyatt died. I bought the album because of this song. I had read a review of it on NPR, and the couple talked about this song – how the best piece of advice they ever got was to just let grief matter. When you lose something important, it’s okay to feel it. Because it was/is important.
So many times, music helps me get out of my shell, brings my joy, articulates my feelings, and provides healing. Any time I’m feeling any of the previ0us, it’s a gift to listen to something that helps you feel understood.
While every grieving process is different, “Let It Matter” was and still is my anthem as I continue to say goodbye to Wyatt. This ache of missing someone you never got to know. . . It’s just crappy. But I know it’s because it matters. He matters. And I know he will always matter.