Our next selection is more here because of who he is than the fact that I found solace in his music.
Valotte - Julian Lennon
Yes, I realize that this link goes to "Too Late for Goodbyes" and not "Valotte". However, it was the album as a whole that I listened to and not one particular song. As I started moving through the Kubler-Ross model (she was brilliant, that one), more than anything I wanted to be able to talk to someone who knew what I was going through. None of my friends had experienced the death of a parent. I wanted that understanding so much that I'd actually get angry when someone would tell me "I know" or "I understand" when I'd attempt to share my pain. Unless they'd been where I was, they couldn't know and it'd piss me off that they'd think they did. To this day, if you tell me that you're dealing with the death of someone close to you, I will offer to listen. If you need my empathetic ear, I will walk through fire, break down doors, hell I'd even give up Diet Coke to help you however I can. And good whatever lord help you if it's the death of your father with which you're dealing. You will not find a more willing person to help you however she can.
But back to the music. I don't remember what exactly led me to Julian Lennon but his experiences so mirrored my own, I just knew (in all my teenage wisdom) that he'd understand the pain, anger, grief with which I was dealing. Let's run through the simliarities, shall we?
- He and his father hadn't been especially close while he was growing up. Wow, neither had me and my dad.
- He was rebuilding his relationship with his father when his dad died. Hey, me too!
- He was 17 when his father died. I was 16 when mine died.
Of course there was never any chance for me to actually talk with Julian, to pick his brain about how he dealt with his grief, but for me there was still a connection. Because of him, I knew there was at least one other person in the world who knew where I was coming from. Yeah, yeah, I know (and knew) I wasn't the first teenager whose father had died but there were times when it felt like it.
Besides, this was a good album. I was sorry to read some years later that Julian hadn't liked it. He felt that others had imposed their musical will on him and he ended up recording music that wasn't fully expressive of him. Personally, I think he maybe liked Stoli and cranberry juice a little too much at the time, but that's just me. (Yes, I remember reading in an interview that Stoli and cranberry juice was his favorite drink. I'll remember it until the day I die because it's absolutely non-vital to my existence).
At any rate, thank you, Julian. Thank you for being there for me when I needed you.