Tuesday, May 28, 2013

that familiar tune.

ST and I were savoring our Sunday afternoon drive this weekend when Daughtry's "Home" came on the radio. Familiar tears pricked my eyes and he noticed immediately. "Your brother?" I nodded, wiping them away.

When my brothers were deployed, my whole family's lifestyle was turned upside down. We still looked forward to holidays and milestones that had always been familiar, but our collective calendar now revolved around the next time Josh or Tyler would return home on leave. All planning of any events would circulate around their two-week stints at home. Around the end of Josh's first deployment, we were all missing each other immensely--counting down until the next arrival of one of the two (or both, sometimes!). Josh's Myspace (yes, I'm serious) even blasted the lyrics to "Home." When I first heard it on his page, years ago, I cried my eyes out. I'd never missed anyone so much. This kid, my baby brother--was now this Marine. He, who used to annoy the hell out of me as if it were his sole mission in life, was now a man--grown and trained for war--entangled in a battle half a world away and I wouldn't see him for months. While all of the lyrics ring true, the chorus especially fits the place and time... and when I hear it, I feel like a college girl again, sitting in my apartment in suburbia, tucked safely away from the turmoil and uncertainty of war chaos.

Well I'm going home,
To the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me.
I'm not running from...
No, I think you got me all wrong.
I don't regret this life I chose for me.
But these places and these faces are getting old,
So I'm going home.

And to this day, when I hear it, I am right back on the edge of my college bed, Dell laptop burning the tops of my thighs, and me, splattering the keyboard with tears that just won't stop.

Very similarly, the week I turned 21, I had to make one of the hardest decisions I'd ever had to make. My sweet two-year-old puppy, Lucy, had contracted distemper, and I was witnessing her slowly wither away. I'd desperately hoped she'd bounce back, but as her personality faded, and her strength was lost, the truth was staring me in the face--I knew I'd have to put her to sleep. I was a complete and utter wreck. Naturally, this all happened the week between Thanksgiving and studying for finals, and I was an inconsolable mess. I'd never felt such raw pain before... and on the night I made the decision to end her pain, I laid in bed with her snuggled up next to me and heard the words to The Fray's "How to Save a Life." I forced myself to stay awake, breathing her in and making her as comfortable as I could. I prayed and prayed and prayed for God to comfort her, to maybe give me some answer on what I could do to make this work out. To do anything to make this not end badly.

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Lastly, my grandparents were two people who were absolutely born to love one another. They were a picture-perfect couple--the image of not having anything, but yet having everything. When my Mimi unexpectedly died in 2010, the glue of our family melted away and my grandfather hasn't been the same since. Until that point, when I heard the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody," my heart fluttered with a sense of remembrance, even though I wasn't alive to know it was their song when they were teenagers. I do recall sitting in the backseat of their truck one night, as we were driving to go grab some dinner together, and the familiar tune drifted through the cab. They ogled each other like kids and sang along to the sweet, syrupy lyrics.  As young as I was--14 maybe?--I remember knowing that that's what I wanted love to be like for me. Now when I hear it, it isn't a negative memory--it just shifted a bit. I miss my grandmother tremendously, and I really miss seeing them together--flirting as if they're in between football practice and homeroom. They are the resounding image of forever love for me, and that song is a constant reminder of that.

What songs take you back?

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