Stones of Remembrance (January 2006)
I made this during a time of grieving as the first anniversary of Gordy’s death approached. At the time, my grief was evolving from a clutching paralyzation to something softer and more eternal, like well worn jeans. I was beginning to embrace that I now belonged to a new club with a secret handshake – a club whose members understood that grief has no deadline, but will be part of us until we ourselves die. I’ve learned that a lot of unspoken communication happens between two people who have lost someone. We just know.
I have lost before – grandparents, a friend in high school, a college roommate – but Gordy left a footprint in my heart. He embraced an eight year old girl who felt lost and abandoned and said, ‘I am here for you.’ I have always felt that outside of my faith in Christ, Gordy’s love saved my life.
A Thousand Beautiful Things – Annie Lennox, Bare.
All My Tears – Emmylou Harris, Wrecking Ball. I wore grooves in this album during the months before Gordy died. I spent late nights holed up in the basement office, in the dark, drinking liquor and hatching my dependence on writing. One night, after listening to this song a thousand times, I actually heard the lyrics. At that moment I was broken, and accepted that Gordy was dying, and that everything would still be okay.
When Ye Go Away – The Waterboys, Fisherman’s Blues. “I will cry when you go away.” Even as I think of Gordy in the presence of Jesus and how glorious that must be for him, I still cry that he is not here. I am often baffled about how difficult it is for us to think in terms of eternity, how we cling to what we have here as if it’s all we have when there is really so much more waiting for us.
Strange Boat – The Waterboys, Fisherman’s Blues. When I heard this song for the first time I threw out every dream I’d ever had about how my wedding would be and made this the song for the day Bryan and I got married. I walked down the isle to this song, flanked by both Gordy and my father. Definitely a strange boat, that was. I come back to this song often to remind me that things in this life don’t always make sense, and when I hear it I feel at peace.
The Day the Sun Stood Still – Mars Hill Worship, Tension. Luke is probably my favorite singer/songwriter from back in The Day at Mars Hill. He writes with angst, and reverence, and holiness. I have a picture etched in my mind of Jeff Bettger rocking methodically in the background of the darkened Paradox stage, wailing, “I have stopped the sun and moon…” That band made me go pentecostal every. single. time.
Forty Weight – The Violet Burning, Faith and Devotions of a Satellite Heart. Because so many times my cup feels empty. By the way, anyone who listens to worship music must own this album.
Beautiful Scandalous Night – The Choir, Flap Your Wings. “On that wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree….” The paradox of beauty and horror, pain and joy, so beautifully communicated.
The Ocean – The Choir, Free Flying Soul. “Disregard the wreckage under healing tide….” Glorious and sanctified by pain is not how I would have wished it to happen, but now I can’t imagine it any other way.
Soul Meets Body – Death Cab for Cutie, Plans. “In my head there’s a Greyhound station where I send my thoughts to far off destinations so they may have a chance of finding a place where they’re far more suited than here.” “I know our filthy hands can wash one another’s and not one speck will remain.” Brilliance.
He Woke Me Up Again – Sufjan Stevens, Seven Swans. Everything he writes is brilliant and creative. During Gordy’s illness I felt ‘asleep.’ It wasn’t until hindsight that I realized I was depressed and withdrawn during that season. But I remember waking up one morning, shortly after he died, feeling different – alive, awake, and open to a new era of grief in which I was willing to feel something again.
Table in the Wilderness – Russ Taff, The Way Home. The hope of eternal life.