It was shaping up to be a rough day

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

It was shaping up to be a rough day.
Dad's "go-to" when he is confused or mind-lost is sweeping. He swept three times before breakfast today and twice after.
He shaved before breakfast and again after.
He even went back in to the washroom to shave again. Forgot why he went in. I started feeling a twinge of despair.
I remembered watching a documentary about the power of music to spark memory and ran to get my phone. I had loads of music on there from dad's past. Music was always a connection for us. There was always singing in our home.
Hope. I hung my hat on it.
Found some Otis Redding. Hit play. Hoped.
Dad's eyes stayed blank. No.
Found some Bing Crosby. Hit play. Prayed.
Found some Burton Cummings. Hit play. Appealed to any higher power that might be listening.
Country! Dad loved country. Found some Patsy Cline. Hit play. Beseeched.
Scrolled through my playlist, until I found him - Johnny. The Man in Black.
Mr. Cash was always my daddy's favorite. So much so that with earnings from my first "real" job, I bought dad a black guitar for Christmas. He still plays it.
I don't know if the commandment against having other gods will send me straight to hell, but what I did next borders on praying to Johnny Cash.
The first few bars of Solitary Man played and my dreams of erecting a shrine in all black started to wilt. Nothing. But...
But the song played on to the chorus. "I'll be what I am"... was that a sparkle in his eye?
"A solitary man" oh dear jeezus, his lips moved.
By the time the song was fading to its end, we had sung the chorus twice more and the full last verse. With a few words thrown in here and there.
Let's put Johnny on "shuffle all" shall we?
The next hour was spent blissfully - if occasionally unharmoniously - singing about carpenters and ladies, going to Jackson, time in Folsom Prison, and how it ain't me you're lookin for, babe.
I even played Johnny's cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" even though it couldn't spark memories. Dad loved it.
And then I took my leap of faith.
One of my favorite songs of all time is "Bridge Over Troubled Water"  - dad used to sing it to me. And later, with me. I always saw it as his promise to me that he would be there for me. No matter what. No matter where I went, who I became, what I did or didn't do. No matter if I went away and forgot about him. He would always be my bridge.
I found Simon and Garfunkel, gulped and hit play. Dad looked at me and smiled. And sang. Every word.
By the end of the song, we were singing together.
But something fundamental had changed. The song was still a promise. But now it was a promise from me to him.
No matter what. No matter where you go, who you become, what you do or don't do. No matter if you go away and forget me. Like a bridge over troubled water, daddy, I will ease your mind.


  1. Clare said...:

    What a beautiful post, Cheryl.

  1. Unknown said...:

    Thanks Clare!

  1. Nu 2 This said...:

    Lovin' it cuz. Wishing I was there to give Uncle a big hug. Bridge Over Troubled Waters has always been one of my favourites and seems to fit a lot of life's "challenges". Music is awesome. Love this "Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday life" because it's so true! Sing on dear cuz...daddy's lovin' it!! XO

  1. inuitwarrior said...:

    You remind me of "WHAT WOULD i DO IF MY DAD OR MOM WERE STILL AROUND....I love that you still have him around to love,god bless you.

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