I love my son…more than anything else…in the way only the single mother of an only child can understand.
He and his sons live with me now. They are here to help me out.
I imagined his moving in with me would enhance our relationship…we are both old enough to be true friends now. He is 45. I am 69. I thought we would talk all the time, every day!
But his life as a single Dad is packed!
So it is loudly silent around here sometimes.
Music has always been a bond for us and one day, when I had almost become dissatisfied with his silence, he sat me down to share a music video with me. He told me the first time through I should be very patient, keep my eyes closed, and wait for it.
By the second run through, we were holding hands and crying, both so f-ing moved by this amazing performance.
You may well have heard it before. I have even posted about it before but if you haven’t, treat yourself to a listen, with an open mind and heart (and your volume cranked up!!!)
Ironic to be posting a song when the theme this week is silence, but how could I not share it?
Here is “Sound of Silence” by Disturbed.
Remember, don’t judge, just wait for it….It is everything BUT Silence!
First song that came to mind so I’m going with it…..
Dedicated to one of my very best friends in high school, a talented musician.
I wrote this last year for his obituary guest page.
“Jerry was my best friend in high school. We covered many deep subjects in many long conversations throughout our time at Natchez High. And we sang together, both of us tenors, in a choir, as well as in the “Duzin Cuzins”, a folk singing group. As happens, somehow time sped by but we were reunited at our 40th high school reunion. He was still Jerry…sweet, funny, talented and ethical to a degree few ever reach. I weep for his much loved family, and wish I could be there to celebrate his life.”
Jerry would have passionately agreed with Helen’s childhood, end-of-the-world story.
This song always brought tears to my eyes during the long stretch Jerry and I were out of touch. Made me think of him right up to the end.
Wait, that was WAY to heavy and sad.
Here’s your comic relief. After all, the end may be near…….
And once again, WAIT. I just found THIS on YouTube. This is my dear friend Jerry’s son, Tyler Flowers. Worth a listen even though the lyrics don’t exactly fit today’s theme. But with a topic like this, I figure we need all the good music we can find!
(disclaimer: wordpress keeps freezing on me and then I lose entire posts because it also does not save drafts for me. This is a late night re-creation of a post I wrote earlier today…and I think the original was a lot better.)
This word is my preferred way of living, by far, and not just because I came of age in the 1960’s when that was all the rage. I did live in actual communes in my late teens and early twenties, and I thrived in that setting!
But really, I was kind of raised that way in the first place.
My Mom was a single working mother and was so well-loved by all of my friends, they all called her “Mom”. At several points in my young life, there were many other kids (besides our three) who either lived with us or crashed on the living room floor in sleeping bags….this latter category often as a short respite from their own broken and painful homes. During my highschool years (before I prematurely left home myself) a few times, my Mom would even find one of her extra “kids’ passed out on our front lawn. She would nurse them back to sobriety and eventually send them to their real homes to try to work things out.
And my mother also had other single-mom friends who would be around (or not), kids in tow (or not). My tiny childhood home, when my Dad was out of the picture, was delightfully unpredictable and often filled with additional people, bringing a variety of interactions, activities, and support. There was always someone to talk to.
When I became a young single mother myself, it seemed the most natural thing in the world to open up my home to other young women in similar boats….the more, the merrier after all. That expanded to renting rooms to students from a very close-by college. And before I knew it, many years of this lifestyle flew by, and I had lived with so many people and kids and animals, I almost lost count. I wrote a post all about it for my friend Badfish. You can read about it here:
One of my favorite experiences of communal living was on a Once-in-a-Lifetime (which turned out to be twice) extended trip to the South Pacific. Me and my six closest people, as well as a crew of four, lived together on a 95 foot yacht called the Tau, for well over a month. We sailed down around and explored the Southern Lau Islands (Fiji).
We lived on the TAU (in Fijian, it means friend) and though it was a beautiful and spacious ocean going craft, it could be crowded, so we had to develop some communal living rules to live by (like honoring the silence above deck during sunrise and sunset… Oh, and flushing only 3 squares of T.P. at a time or incurring the wrath of our Captain!)
Now, in these later years of my life, I think my version of Communal Living would be more like some of the wonderful Co-Housing communities born in the greater Seattle area this last 20 years or so. But I currently have a houseful of people I dearly love (my partner, my son and two grandsons, and a long-time family friend…oh and three cats) And we will live together communally in this rustic old house, for as long as the current economy will allow.
I have some very close people in my life-my adopted sister, my son, and my best friend-(all introverts) who cringe at my chosen lifestyle, but they can’t be surprised. Co-Housing and Communal Living is in my my history, my blood, maybe even my genes.
Though I am not a Mormon, my great, great grandfather was Brigham young. If you have come across his history, you know that at least 16 of those 55 wives, lived in row houses close to the Salt Lake City Temple.
Oh Helen, what a sensitive subject for me these days, as I am really feeling my age.
I asked James what song he thought of when I said “getting old”. Immediately he said “When I’m 64” by the Beatles. A few years back that would have been my choice also but since that number is behind me, I think I’ll take the opposite approach now.
Personal history of the song I chose. Along with many other therapists, for many years we did a 5-day long immersion-type therapeutic retreat called Experiencing Enough. Originally designed based on the belief that almost every single issue in people’s lives, as well as in the world, can be traced back to the mistaken belief that there just isn’t enough to go around for everyone. Siblings fight over scarcity. Marriages end. Companies fold. Religions compete. And wars are fought over this erroneous idea. (This was back in the 1980’s and 90’s when there still might have been enough. Now I’m not so sure…)
Anyway, one of the main songs we played and sang was Forever Young…to address the idea that there was not enough “time”.
So that is my song choice for this week’s theme. “Forever Young”, written by Bob Dylan.
Now comes the hard choice, whose version of this song?? So many amazing musicians have covered this classic. You can read about it on Wikipedia:
But I have to say, my favorite is still by Joan Baez. Here is an older version (with lyrics)
I encourage you to also check out the 2016 YouTube video of a Joan Baez concert called
All Star 75th Birthday Celebration
Joan and many other famous musicians who join her, put on a show that can change the way you look at aging. I found it so inspirational. The video is set up so you can click at the beginnings of each song (and each new performer that joins her), and skip ahead if you wish. Forever Young is the final song. Not the best quality but so worth watching. (Some night when there is nothing on TV if you must.) She is amazing and many of her guests are similar ages, so they are all models for aging with passion and beauty.
I guess every generation has its war. For mine, it was Vietnam.
I was so angry about that war and I could not have told you why………other than my well-intentioned, but naive Flower Child commitment to nonviolence.
Even though I could not have justified it with any political understanding, I marched and protested and wrote passionate letters and participated in every way I could think of…believing with my whole being that we could actually stop the war.
Though I lost my innocence back then, as well as many friends, I never lost my belief in pacifism.
It took going to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in DC some time in the early 1980’s for me to finally be able to make room in my black and white thinking about the Vietnam war. I had never even considered how many of those names on the Wall represented men and women who chose, out of honor and deep-held passions of their own, to fight for our country.
I was still biased, and so angry on that trip. I made pencil etchings of 17 names, “brothers” from my childhood, that had served in Vietnam…but did not make it back home. Each one of them had been drafted.
Now, this print of Lee Teter’s Vietnam Reflections War Memorial Poster sits in the most prominent position in my office/Group Room. Everyone who comes to me for therapy is greeted by this powerful image. Such a small homage to all those we lost, in that war, as well as because of that war.
We didn’t know back then what we know now. So many of us would do it all differently…
especially the welcoming home part….
This is one of my favorite videos ever.
I ask for forgiveness for not knowing this back then.
And I dedicate this post, with deep gratitude for their service, to the following people I am blessed to have had in my life. Most, but not all, served during the Vietnam War.
Colonel Louis Ford (Tad)-United States Air Force
Thomas Alvin Bessey-National Guard Mounted Cavalry
Jean McMaster Bessey- US Navy WAVES
Captain Brian Lee Ford-US Air Force
James Fletcher-US Army
Colonel James Kowalski
Colonel James Sampson
Colonel Bill Head
Captain Roy Gurd
Jerry and Jennifer Niehaus
(I know I am leaving out some names…so sorry)
PS Sorry I could not get WordPress to work yesterday so this post is a day late…