03 May, 2010

Dead Daddy Edition - #1

Great theme for the first week, don't you think? Ah, love morbidity. So for what purpose am I talking about dead dads? Well, my father died from alcoholism when I was 16. To say his death changed my life would be a slight understatement. One of the things that got me through that time was music. There were four songs in particular that I would listen to repeatedly, that would become a lifeline for me during a really horrible time in my life.

To that end, each day this week I'm going to post a song that helped me get through and share a bit about what the song meant to me. And probably some other crap too because when I'm typing, I type a LOT.

First up is Tender Love by the Force MD's.

Why on earth would an instrumental version of a pop song have been so important to me? Let me 'splain. My father went into the hospital on a Friday night with massive internal bleeding. I saw him on Saturday. Sunday, March 23rd, I had rehearsal with my school's choir. We were leaving Monday to go to Hawaii to compete. We were good and ended up with a gold medal that year. But still, it was at rehearsal that my mom came down to the school with the news my father had died. Having already paid for the trip, I still went to Hawaii. It was surreal and difficult to say the least. I spent most of my down time sitting on the balcony of my room, listening to the instrumental version of this song. I had the 45 at home which had the full version of the song on one side, instrumental on the other. I liked the instrumental version better and had taped it (yes, on a cassette tape - this was 1986) for the trip. This became my solace. I didn't want to talk to anyone and no one knew what the hell to say to me. How do you console someone in that situation when you're only a teenager and don't know shit yourself? It was hard, not only for me. And so my choir friends all left me to my grief and the Force MD's. This song evokes such a visceral reaction in me that just a couple years ago when, by pure chance, I heard it on the radio, it hit me like a punch in the gut. I hadn't heard it in ages and here it was, this song whose only association for me is pain. Next year will be 25 years that he's been gone and while he was a shitty father, he was still mine and there were good times along with the bad.

Gone on long enough. Told you I'd write too much. :-) Are there any songs that got you through a rough time in your life? If you'd be so kind, please tell me about them. I'd love to hear your stories, too.

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