Evan's Garden

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Just Like the Monkeys



We saw the band, Ralph's World on one of those early morning shows when Evan was still new. We thought, "Finally! A band that makes music for kids that adults will like, too!" Or, at least, not hate. We really liked them, and bought their latest album, The Amazing Adventures of Kid Astro. We got it, and listened to it. A. Lot. We all knew the songs by heart. We sang at the top of our lungs to Evan, and he'd laugh and smile. Evan had gotten to the age when he didn't think he needed a nap anymore. Thing was, if we got in the car, he'd go to sleep. If we were driving home from somewhere and it was early afternoon, he would start to drift off. He'd get that little short power nap in, and he'd be ready to go once we got home. So, no down time for Mommy. I remember we were just a couple of miles from home when Evan started to close his eyes. We just wanted to keep him awake till we got home, then he could get a good nap in. We cranked up "Just Like the Monkeys," one of Evan's favorites, and started singing loudly. And badly. We sang our hearts out to try to get him home awake. His eyes kept fluttering open and shut. He'd smile, clearly thinking that we were the silliest people on the planet, then close his eyes again. Pretty soon it was obvious that we were not going to win this battle with the Sand Man, so we just let Evan sleep, probably dreaming of monkeys and silly parents!


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Our Father




Every night at bedtime we would read stories to Evan. He loved reading! We would sing songs and finally put him down to bed. He wouldn't always settle down right away. Sometimes he'd cry. We'd go back in and pick him up to snuggle, and maybe recite another story. Or sing another song. When Duncan came along, we had to start splitting up bedtime. Justin would read to Evan and put him to bed, and I would go and sing to him. He always requested "Our Father," which was "The Lord's Prayer." I would hold him in my arms and snuggle him, and sing his song.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Songs for the Journey

There are specific songs that Evan knew and loved. There are pieces of music that inspire thoughts of Evan. And then there are songs that fit in with where I am in my grief journey. One of these is by a British band called, Bastille. They have two songs on their first album called "The Weight of Living." There's a part one and part two. I like them both, but "The Weight of Living, Part 1" hits me in the feels, as the kids say. Just the title has meaning for me. Living on without my son truly does weigh me down. In the song there's "an albatross around your neck." I've heard this phrase in a Flogging Molly song, too. It has to do with a burden that one is carrying. In the song there's this burden, this albatross, and the singer says "can you carry it with no regrets, can you stand the person you've become." Then he encourages you to let it go, and also to shoot it down. For me the albatross is my grief. It does feel like a heavy burden sometimes. All of the questions that I ask myself, "Had I taken him to the doctor sooner, would he have lived?" Of course, there are regrets. I regret losing my patience with him. I have to remind myself that I did the best I could. I have to remind myself that it's not my fault. And no matter what "good intention-ed" people say, things don't always happen for a reason. Or, maybe they do, and the reason is sometimes sh#t happens. This song helps me think that yes, I can let go of my grief. Yes, I can shoot down that albatross. I don't have to have this feeling. I can let it go.

Here are the lyrics:

There's an albatross around your neck,
All the things you've said,
And the things you've done,
Can you carry it with no regrets,
Can you stand the person you've become,
Ooh there's a light [2x]

[CHORUS]
Your Albatross, let it go, let it go,
Your albatross shoot it down, shoot it down
When you just can't shake
The heavy weight of living

Stepping forward out into the day
Shrugging off the dust and memory
Though it's soaring still above your head
It is out of sight and none shall see
Oooh there's a light [2x]

[CHORUS]
Your albatross, let it go, let it go,
Your albatross shoot it down, shoot it down
When you just can't shake
The heavy weight of living
When you just can't seem to shake
The weight of living

It's the sun in your eyes, in your eyes [4x]

[CHORUS]
Your albatross, let it go, let it go,
Your albatross shoot it down, shoot it down
When you just can't shake
The heavy weight of living
When you just can't seem to shake
The weight of living

The weight of living [4x]

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Sit Beside My Feet Tonight

In the days, months, years since losing Evan, I have sought solace through music. Not just playing flute, and re-learning a little piano, but live music. I majored in music in college, so I went to plenty of concerts (they were required!) Mostly "Classical" music, but a bit of other stuff, too. Maybe it's because I bought Justin Guitar Hero 3 after Evan died that I rekindled my interested in Rock and Alternative music. I discovered the band Muse when struggling through the video game version of Knights of Cydonia. I remember thinking when I first saw it, "What the heck is Cydonia?" I put it on, and loved it. Then I looked it up on Youtube, and watched the wacky video. And I never looked back.

Before we decided to get rid of cable, we had the concert channel, Palladia. We sat watching music festivals from here and over seas. It really touched a nerve. One band that Justin already liked was Flogging Molly. I think they had their Live at the Greek Theater concert on. I watched it. I liked the music, but the singer ending words with -ah kind of got on my nerves. I wasn't sold. Justin has his own thing (goofy, campy music), and I have mine (dark, brooding music.) And that's ok.

Well, our music tastes get kind of mixed up sometimes when it comes to downloading music to the mp3 player. I remember finally getting music on my mini, and I decided, "Hey, I'm going to do a playlist for my next 5K!" Of course, I waited until 10 minutes before the race to get it sorted. I quickly clicked on good songs to keep me moving. I accidentally clicked on some lullaby by Flogging Molly. I thought, "Oh man, I'm not going to want to hear a lullaby when I'm running!" But I'd waited too late to make changes. It was time to go! I don't really remember what I listened to that day, or even how the race went. I'm not fast, so finishing is always a good thing. I do remember getting to the last part of the race, with only a tenth or two to go, and "Drunken Lullabies" by Flogging Molly came on. It's not anything like a lullaby with it's punk like speed and rhythms. It was awesome, and I loved it! It was the perfect song to get me across that finish line. I remember telling Justin when I was done, "Flogging Molly is going to always be on my running playlist!" We've seen Muse and Flogging Molly live several times. As great as cranking up the tunes is in the car, there's nothing like seeing the band playing them in person! I remember liking one of Flogging Molly's songs a wee bit more than the others. It's called, "If I Ever Leave this World Alive." I remember seeing the band for the first time, thinking, "Oh, I really hope they play it!" We rocked through their set, then the first of the encore. Nope. Then I hear the opening notes and know that this is it! I know now that they end every concert with this song! It's not just my favorite, apparently. I'm not sure of the story behind the song. I've heard it's about a friend of the band that was sick or died. I'll learn it eventually. When I listen to it, I feel like it's Evan telling me not to worry, he's always there for me, and I'll be alright.

Here are the lyrics:

If I ever leave this world alive
I'll thank for all the things you did in my life
If I ever leave this world alive
I'll come back down and sit beside your
feet tonight
Wherever I am you'll always be
More than just a memory
If I ever leave this world alive

If I ever leave this world alive
I'll take on all the sadness
That I left behind
If I ever leave this world alive
The madness that you feel will soon subside
So in a word don't shed a tear
I'll be here when it all gets weird
If I ever leave this world alive

So when in doubt just call my name
Just before you go insane
If I ever leave this world
Hey I may never leave this world
But if I ever leave this world alive

She says I'm okay; I'm alright,
Though you have gone from my life
You said that it would,
Now everything should be all right

She says I'm okay; I'm alright,
Though you have gone from my life
You said that it would,
Now everything should be all right
Yeah should be alright

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Watching Over Me

Evan loved music. He bopped his head to the beat, and listened intently to music he liked. Of course, he wasn't shy about telling me to change the station when he didn't like what was on! I remember putting on a Renaissance CD in the car. Evan asked what it was. "What's this musit?" he wanted to know. I told him it was music from a long time ago. He didn't seem impressed. He knew what he liked, and asked for it, or rather, demanded it. "Ella Fitzgerald," he requested. It was probably more like, "Ewwa Fitzgewall." I'd played him some Gershwin tunes with Ella Fitzgerald singing, and he really liked them! I let the track finish on my music, then put on his.

We used a couple of tracks from that album for Evan's visitation and funeral. We chose "Someone to Watch Over Me" for the funeral service. It does make me a bit weepy sometimes, but I still love the song. I always kind of feel like he's the someone who is watching over me.









Saturday, November 5, 2016

Music in a Minor Key

I've always loved music. I remember listening to the Beach Boys and The Platters on an 8 track player in my parents' old car. When reading made me start feeling motion sickness, there was always music playing to soothe me. I took a couple of years of piano lessons as a kid, then picked up the flute in middle school. I still play flute (and a little piano)! I may skip the scales and the etudes, but I get in some playing here and there.

They say music soothes the savage beast. I can believe it. Music has a way of making us feel. Feel happy. Feel sad. It brings back memories of different periods of our lives, even the little ones. I know going out for a run helps many people work through a bad day, or deal with difficult emotions. It's also true with music. It may not be as physically punishing as running, but playing a musical instrument can help me deal. To just survive.





I remember soon after Evan died, I was going down to the basement to practice. My parents were there, and my mom asked me whether I should or why I bothered. I'm not sure what I said, but I knew that I needed to play. Not just for the sense of normalcy, but the music would allow me to just let go. To let me feel, no matter how hard I knew it would be. I remember playing C.P.E. Bach's Sonata in a minor that night. It is still a very emotional piece for me.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Bittersweet Melody




I sang lullabies and soothing songs to each of the kids at bed time. Well, until Miranda started covering her ears, and saying, "No singing!" I'm no opera star, but I can carry a tune. One hymn that I "sang" (hummed, really) to Evan was "Be Thou My Vision." An old family friend sang it at our wedding, and it's always been a favorite of mine. I've always loved Celtic music to listen to and play. When I sang it to Evan, I didn't sing the words. I didn't know the words! I just sang the tune. And we snuggled. He seemed to love to hear me sing. When it came time to choose music for Evan's funeral, "Be Thou My Vision" seemed a good choice. A pretty melody. A good message. And the history of the music for our little family. It didn't occur to me at the time that hearing it later on would be a struggle. This song that I've loved for 20 or more years is hard to hear now, because of the memories it brings back. Whenever they play it at church, I cry. I'm crying now, because I've been listening to it as I write this. I still love the melody. It's just bittersweet now.