Songs That Choke Me Up

sad songs

Dear Mom,

I’ve been going to karaoke a lot lately. Though I have lost my voice from overuse or holding emotions in my throat (that’s a topic for a whole other blog post), I still like being around people who sing. And I am hoping to get my voice back to itself or stronger sometime soon.

The trouble is that songs years ago, that I really liked, and could have sung now…well, some of them are too hard to sing. Not because of the complexity of the song in my voice, but the complexity and utter anguish that it causes in my heart.

Did you know that my go to song when I first tried karaoke a few years ago was always Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper. It’s a great song, and fits well in my voice. But I can’t finish the line that says “If you fall I will catch you, I will be waiting, time after time.”

I can’t sing it because I feel like a fraud singing it.  You did fall. And I didn’t catch you, at the most crucial time. I wasn’t there when it happened, but I wish I was to have helped you and not allowed you to fall. But then I think of other times before then when you had fallen, and I was right there, but couldn’t stop you. Maybe I could have, but I wasn’t alert enough, or strong enough, or didn’t keep my eyes on you enough.

So I haven’t been able to sing that song for a few years now. That line just chokes me up every time.

And then there are songs which I can’t even listen to. As soon as the intro starts, without any lyrics, I know when Say Something is playing. And it tears me to pieces. That song brings me back to the moments when you were in the hospital. They are so vivid to me, and so painful. Where I didn’t know what you would have wanted me to do. I didn’t know what you wanted us to do. And I wished that God had given you the chance to say something. But you had tubes down your throat, you were not waking to much of anything.  And in particular, I hate the line in the song that says, “Say something, I’m giving up on you.  I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you.”

I am sorry, Mom. I feel like I should have done more. That I should have given you more time to respond. I should have held your hand and hugged you, or put my hand on your forehead like you would have done to me. Or maybe I should have crawled into your hospital bed with you like I wanted to, and laid next to you. Maybe some of my energy would have given you energy to move, to talk, to wake up.

But I just didn’t want you to be in pain anymore. They said that there was a clot in your intestines and that it was really bad for you. That it would be painful to keep enduring what it was doing to you.  But I’m scared that you thought that I gave up on you.  I wasn’t, Mom. I just didn’t want you to be in pain.  I just didn’t want my mom to be in pain.

I feel almost nauseous when I hear someone sing that song.  I want to leave the room most days, as if that will somehow make the song and memories go away. But it doesn’t. And on other days, I force myself to stay with the singer and song. To just endure it, but it hurts so much. I usually don’t make it through without tears coming down my face. And if, the tears don’t come on the outside, another little piece of my heart rips on the inside. Either way, that song kills me a little bit each time.

Lately, I’m been excited about singing duets.  I almost deleted the word excited because I feel guilty for being excited about anything when you are no longer here.  Sorry, Mom. I don’t know if I’m sorry for feeling excited, and enjoying something, or for feeling guilty over it.

But there’s a song called Like I’m Gonna Lose You.  It’s a beautiful song. And I want to learn it.  I saw a couple sing it the other day.  But it reminds me of what I didn’t do. It reminds me that with the most important person in my life- you, my mother- I didn’t love you like I’m going to lose you.  I mean, I didn’t cherish every moment. I took things for granted. I waited until it was too late to do and say the things I wanted to.  I didn’t see what you actually needed, what could have made your life easier and lighter and more enjoyable. And now I see it, but I can’t do anything about it.  I can’t love you like that anymore, because I lost you before I learned the lesson.

So that song kind of reminds me of my mistakes. It reminds me of what I cannot change, what I want to change.  How do I live with that? How do I sing it knowing that I didn’t live by its words?  I can try to apply that to other relationships I have now.  But it just doesn’t compare, Mom. You were the one I wanted to love with my utmost. You were the one I wanted to do anything for. You were the one I wanted to show how much I cherish you and am grateful for all that you have done for me, for your kids.  You are the one I wanted to say thank you over and over and over again to.  Remember you used to say God bless you and thank you to me? Well, that should have been me saying it to you.

You didn’t need to thank me for anything, Mom.  I feel like I didn’t do enough. Yet you still thanked me for that. Whereas you did everything for me. You gave me everything. You gave me the best love, the best caring, the best compassion I could have asked for.  I should be thanking you, Mom. I should have thanked you.

And it hurts that I don’t have that opportunity anymore.

I will try to either sing these songs, or will have to avoid the ones that are to painful to hear.  But they all get me choked up as they say and sing out loud about my regrets, about what I had the opportunity to do but didn’t. And I wonder how both of our lives would have been different had I had done those things. Those songs keep reminding me of what could have been. And that leaves many holes in my heart and my throat.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised then at how I’ve been losing my voice lately, how it has been difficult to breathe at times. It doesn’t seem right that I am singing, enjoying, laughing and even sometimes breathing after seeing you take your last breath. It doesn’t seem right at all.

I guess I have to keep at it though, to honor you and the life you gave me.  I wish I could have been doing it with you longer. I wish I had done it better with you while I had the chance.

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