“My Youth” the acoustic version by Troye Sivan plays on the radio when I start the car and I listen to the words. Words in songs stir up many emotions and thoughts. The lyrics play the story out in my head as a message – a message from Jacob: ‘my youth is yours.’ Yes I do have the memories of his youth and they will guide me through every day. “Speeding through red (red is his favourite colour) lights into paradise (Heaven), Because we’ve no time for getting old (he was robbed of getting old – staying forever young), mortal body, timeless souls.”
I remember watching powerful lightening storms through the floor to ceiling windows in the loungeroom with my dad. We watched in darkness as the storm came closer and closer while listening to Beethoven, dad would say ‘here comes the thunder’ as the music changed it’s tempo. My dad also taught me to listen to the magic in every song and feel the story it tells you with it’s words. I know I have shared this special musical appreciation with my children as Jacob pointed out to me the lyrics of a beautiful song called ‘It’s nice to be alive’ from the movie Blended starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. I cried behind dark sunglasses when he played it for me from his phone on the long drive home from hospital after having chemo. He said ‘you’ll like this one mum.’
I never really thought about how much I would love it, but I do as this song was playing as he took his last breath. As the song finished we lost our beautiful brown-eyed boy. He was surrounded by 19 loving family members and friends. The song that played before he passed was “gone to Carolina in my mind” for his best friend Chris – I’m sure they would have visited such places as they were already planning an America trip for their 21st birthdays in March. The last song we heard was ‘Here comes the sun’ by the Beatles, that’s when the sun came out from behind the clouds and shined on his face for the afternoon and Jacob’s ladders scattered throughout the sky.
It may seem strange to some that how can I love songs that evokes such sad memories but Jacob taught us to be grateful for everyday we have been blessed with and to spend those days with the ones we love – after all the message is clearly stated in one particular song. “It’s nice to be alive!”
Maybe we are drawn subconsciously to the songs and music that mirrors the emotion or memory we are seeking. Studies have shown how music and songs have helped dementia patients subdue their confusion and agitation, as they sing their old favourite songs word for word after not being able to speak in proper sentences just before.
One of Jacob’s favourite family time was spending quality time dancing and being silly to the ways music and songs make you feel and want to move. We’d turn the lights down low in the room and play the cd’s on shuffle and own the floor. We would take turns of being the star as well as slow dance together for the romantic ones where Pete & I would balance the kids on our feet following our every step. I will treasure the memories of singing in the car to songs that contain rude words in them like the one Jack Black sings or ‘the roof, the roof is on fire.’ Only a mum could be so proud of those moments. Yes I have Jacob’s youth as mine just as I have Amy, Rachel, Benjamin, Pete’s and my future.
I will continue to enjoy lots of songs that I hear, taking note of the hidden messages and stories in the lyrics and I will own the emotion and memory that comes with that particular song and music. If you feel like listening to another great song from the movie ‘Blended’ then I recommend listening to the song called ‘What do You love?’ It’s a song Adam wrote and he sings it with his own children. I hope it brings back all those precious emotions and memories you have of your own childhood and that of your own children.
I will find pieces of you in every song I listen to…..