Do you ever hear a song that stops you in your tracks and in an instant floods you with memories and an ocean of memories?
I was driving home from school one day this week when I was completely overcome by a song. Being with twenty-six ten year olds all day long is pretty noisy and chaotic, so most days I prefer to travel home in glorious silence. But this day, I decided to play my “Momma Chill” playlist to try and center myself and reflect on the day. As I crept up to the traffic light, the familiar guitar chords began.
It was Annie’s song by John Denver. One of my all time favorite songs ever. It is one of the first songs I ever really remember my brother singing and playing on his guitar. As I listened, the tears came in a torrent down my cheeks. I hadn’t heard this song in such a very long time. I had honestly forgotten it was even a part of this playlist.
The tears turned into violent sobs as I proceeded through the intersection. I even considered pulling over to calm down. I missed my brother. I kept thinking how desperately I wanted to hear him sing, just one more time. I wanted to remember the last time that I had heard him sing this song, and I was angry at myself that I couldn’t find that memory. When was the last time he sang it? I’m certain that when I heard it, I had no idea that it would be the last time. None of us knew or understood that we would be facing a lot of those “last times” when he found out he was sick. The yearning in my chest to go back and appreciate his music was smothering.
But here’s the thing, I can’t go back. None of us can, and none of us know when we share moments together that they could be the last time.
I am still wading through the grief of my brother’s death. Somedays I can smile about the memories and other days I can’t stop the tears. Some days I can sit in my memories of times with him, and other days a mere picture of him brings me to my knees. That’s grief, I guess.
I have thought a lot about this idea of “the last time…” watching my brother battle cancer and eventually succumb to it. I don’t understand for a minute why it was him that had to die so young. I have asked God a hundred times why our family has had to endure such a significant loss. I may never know why. But here is what I do know…I may never know when a moment with a loved one may be the last time. I believe that the best way I can honor my brother is to savor every chance I get to spend with family and friends. To be so present, and to treat every moment like it could be the last time.
Thank you for my love of music, and for that lesson, Todd.