Memories Are in the Music


Ever since this season of American Idol started, I’ve had Mariah Carey on my mind. This year, Mariah is one of the judges. This week, as I was watching American Idol and listening to the men sing, I was inspired to find online videos of Joshua Ledet from last season. Anyone who watched last season knows his amazing talent and voice. He often brought us to tears. This is what music has the power to do.

During my search, a little voice in the back of my head kept trying to be heard. What finally came to the front of my mind was Mariah Carey. More specifically the song, One Sweet Day she sings with Boyz II Men. This is why she’s been on my mind. I’ve been wanting to hear that song again. Why you ask? It was the song I woke up to the morning after my mom died.

I hadn’t slept in my bed. It didn’t seem right or plausible I could just go up to my bedroom and go to sleep in my bed like every other night. It wasn’t at all like any other night in my life. What felt better to me in that moment (much like when my dad died) was to stay awake as long as I could and stay distracted. So, I fell asleep in a chair in front of the TV with a music video channel on.

The night my mom died was stormy. It was rainy, windy, and not long after my mom died, the lights went out. We never have electrical storms in January in Pennsylvania—never. What is even more intriguing is the lights went out just about long enough for the funeral home to come and remove my mom from the house. And then, once she was gone, the lights came back on. I noticed. Even in death our mom was protecting us. From my perspective, she didn’t want us to see her leave in a body bag. The lights being out symbolically achieved this even though we had candles and flashlights. To this day, I marvel at how the weather, the lights, the energy followed a parallel path to my mom’s journey to the after world.

As she died, I held her hand and sat next to her on the bed, talking to her and telling her I loved her. Behind me was the window. Moments after she took her final breath, I felt an energy push me back. I was between her and her exit—the window. I felt my mom’s spirit leave that stormy night, and I never felt more connected to her than in that moment.

The next morning, waking next to a big bright window, I was greeted with those pinkish blue skies that often come with the calm after a storm. And Mariah Carey singing One Sweet Day. If you know the song, you understand the significance. It’s about a loved one dying and seeing them again one sweet day.

Sorry I never told you
All I wanted to say
And now it’s too late to hold you
Cause you’ve flown away
So far away…

…And I know you’re shining
Down on me from heaven,
Like so many friends
We’ve lost along the way
And I know eventually
We’ll be together (together)
One sweet day

The words, the sentiment couldn’t have been more fitting. It, like the calm skies, told me my mom had safely made her journey to wherever she was going. It gave me a sense of peace I never experienced with my dad’s death. The next song that aired was Prayer for the Dying by Seal. A double whammy! What are the odds these two songs of all songs would be played back to back on that day?! I was flabbergasted… and touched.

I’m crossing that bridge,
With lessons I’ve learned…
I’m playing with fire,
And not getting burned…
I may not know what you’re going through.
But time is the space,
Between me and you.
There is a light through that window.
Hold on say yes, while people say no.

Music is a source of healing. Even songs like One Sweet Day and Prayer for the Dying, can heal a broken heart. I seek them out and listen to them. They remind me how much I love and miss my mom. I never can get too far into either song before I burst into tears. I cherish these moments. They bring me closer to my mom even though I know she’s always with me. I believe these songs were sent to me by her or the universe to let me know she was okay and so I should be too.

Music is powerful. It has the capacity to inspire, heal, connect, and transform. Many of us if asked could tell you exactly what song was playing at a pivotal moment in our lives. The association is that strong. These songs will forever be linked to that moment, and every time I hear them, I’ll be transported back in time. It is a beautiful thing even if music brings back moments of heartbreak.

I believe I have a beautiful soundtrack to my life. How about you? Do you have a song that resonates with you? Please share your story in the comments section below.

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