“It’s not livin' that you’re doing if it feels like dyin'."
Ray LaMontagne in the song Old Before Your Time
No more shocking bad-news phone calls. No more dire diagnoses. No more slamming doors and empty bank accounts and husbands who don’t come home.
How many times have I pleaded with the universe (in general) and with God (in particular) that I’ve had enough heartbreak for one lifetime and please not to send me any more bad stuff? It doesn’t seem to matter, no matter how much I plead. The universe is just a jumble of chemistry and physics, organic and inorganic compounds that have no empathy. You can’t reason with a rock. And God is God—I’ve had an incalculable number of discussions with him and I must accept that his ways are not for me to understand. However, I still have trouble with the explanation that God’s will is something beyond my comprehension—not being given a plausible excuse just doesn’t fit in to my flawed construct of how life should work. I still want cause and effect, I still want the pieces of the puzzle to fit together neatly, and I still want some semblance of justice. Guess that’s just not gonna happen.
Add a soundtrack to this cosmic angst. I’m listening to Classical Gas on iTunes—not the usual Mason Williams version with all the orchestral background but a more simple acoustic version. Of course it reminds me of Mike—that one riff that he nailed every time. Damn, he was good. When I hear music he played it’s like pouring salt on the wound. It’s like he’s there in sound alone. The music brings back a sliver of him, a shadow. I want to hear it even though it makes me cry. And I tell myself, it’s gone, Donna, it’s just plain gone. That time of your life has slipped through your hands.
But my life’s soundtrack can be what I what I want it to be. I can rearrange it. I can imbue the songs with meaning. I can listen to Mike playing and celebrate who he was and how much he contributed to my music. It’s sad that he’s gone. I miss him like crazy. But I’m alive and the music, the soundtrack, belongs to me; it didn’t die with him. He would want it to be that way, and more importantly, I want it to be that way.