There is always talk about how music makes you feel emotions that are otherwise hard to describe. Music can take you back to specific moments of your life and remind you of people, places, things.

If it’s all right with you, I’m going to explain the meaning behind the songs in my playlist “mom.”

Paradise – Coldplay

From the start, Coldplay and my mom kind of went hand in hand. Whenever their songs played on the radio, she would exclaim about how much she loved their music and that it was one of her favorite bands. My mom wasn’t super into music, so this was saying a lot. “Paradise” has such an uplifting feeling… dreaming of paradise and happiness when you can’t get it in real life.

Ho Hey – The Lumineers

During the end of 2015, I was driving home from work twice and this song came on both times. It wasn’t like I was having a rough time or anything, but as soon as the song started and began to play, I would burst into tears. The whole, “I belong with you, you belong with me” part gets to me, and I’ve realized that even though maybe a lot of the songs that remind me of my mom are love songs (definitely not meant for mother-daughter familial relationships), they still make me feel something.

Maybe that gets at the universal feeling of love.. To love and to be loved.

Misguided Ghosts – Paramore

Ah, Paramore. This band is my favorite and it has been since probably 5th grade. By this point in my playlist listening, I’m usually pretty upset. The mellow vibe of this song almost reminds me of someone – who is a ghost or can feel what they’re feeling – saying it to comfort me. The beginning of the song starts out with the words:

“I’m going away for a while
But I’ll be back
Don’t try and follow me
‘Cause I’ll return as soon as possible”

Sometimes when this song starts, I feel like my mom is talking to me. She is trying to comfort me. She has been misguided and she’s coming back, one way or another.

To Build A Home – The Cinematic Orchestra

This song just sounds sad. The music is sad. The melody is sad. It’s one of those songs that is more about a romantic relationship than familial relationship, but it still sparks a feeling inside me. It’s about this relationship that started off strong…a home was built “until it disappeared.” Sometimes, when I’m feeling super hopeless, it feels like my connection the I had with my mother disappeared.

The Boxer – Simon & Garfunkel

Simon & Garfunkel were played a lot in my family’s car as a child. This song is in this playlist more so because of the nostalgic feeling it sparks inside me. It reminds me of those car rides to Berkeley, listening to mixtapes in my families car with different music from the 70s and 80s. The one line in the song “But the fighter still remains” really sticks with me because the song ends that way, and I kind of feel like that’s how I emerged from my mother’s sickness and then passing. The fighter within me still remains.

Yellow – Coldplay

Another Coldplay song (don’t worry, we’re not done with them yet). “Yellow” is one of those romantic relationship songs as well (pretty much all the Coldplay songs are), but it just gets to me. They played it in concert with the other songs in this list, and I saw Coldplay with my mom right before she got truly sick. It’s got that signature tear-jerking melody that most Coldplay songs have.

Work Song – Hozier 

I saw Hozier in concert for the first time in April of 2015, and then again in October of that same year. Hozier is an artist that I got into a few months after my mom passed away. I feel like she would’ve really liked him. This song in specifics is so earthy and smooth, and in concert there are lightbulbs on stage that turn on briefly every time there is a “clap” in the song. I got super teary eyed in this verse:

“When, my, time comes around
Lay me gently in the cold dark earth
No grave can hold my body down
I’ll crawl home to her”

No grave, no experience, no DEATH can take away my mother and who she was away from me.

Good Riddance – Green Day

This song was another one of those radio singles that my mother would exclaim her interest and enthusiasm for when it played in the car. It was also played over the montage in one episode of Seinfeld – a show my parents watched a little too much – so I always associated it with them and her in specifics.

In its own way, it’s a super sad song. I hope she had the time of her life. Life was fucking unpredictable but I hoped she enjoyed what she had of it.

The Scientist – Coldplay

LOL. This is such a SAD SONG. I can’t believe someone could make these songs and not be super super depressed all the time. Coldplay is my crying music.

“Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start”

Nobody said her death would be easy, but they also didn’t say it would be this hard.. I didn’t know dealing with grief would be this hard.

Come On Eileen – Dexys Midnight Runners

This song was one of the old jams that my mom would talk about and love. I don’t know what more to say about it but whenever I would play it in the car she would talk about how great it was, and for a solid few months after my mom passed away it was very difficult for me to listen to this song because it’s so happy and there are so many good memories associated with it. I think I’m doing pretty good with it right now though.

Fix You – Coldplay

“Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you”

This song played during the Luminaria Ceremony during Relay for Life of 2015, and let me tell you I was already crying, but this did it for me. I wish I could quote this whole song and tell you why each line just fucks me up, but the chorus just….. AHH. Lights, stars, they guide ME home, they guide me home to remembering my mother.

Sometimes, especially on the Grad Night, when I look up into the sky and see the stars, I remember my mother and her place in my life. (Re: this post).

They guide me home. They guide me to her.

He Lives in You – Lebo M.

The Lion King was a movie as a kid that I could never watch. I hated thinking about my parents dying, even if it was in a friendly kids movie. I watched a special about Disney on Broadway about half a year after my mom passed away and realized that this song was me. It was what I experienced.

It reminded me that my mother lives within me. She’s always a part of me and she watches over what I do. It reminds me that things are okay. Even if she’s not physically here, she’s emotionally with me.


One thought on “Connection.

  1. “Nobody said her death would be easy, but they also didn’t say it would be this hard.. I didn’t know dealing with grief would be this hard.”

    I know how hard is for me, and it is beyond my imagination how hard is for you!!

    Liked by 1 person

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