Thursday, June 8, 2006



There is a song on the new Pearl Jam album--their 10th and named just 'Pearl Jam'--that spoke to me today. I'm not one to quote song lyrics and haven't written any down since those adolescent girl scribbles one makes on the outside of a notebook.

While waiting in the car for my daughter I put in the CD again and read the lyrics and listened to the quiet and syncopated melody several times. [Eddie Vedder's deep and gravely molasses-coated voice is so seductive but there are times you can't understand each word, hence the need for the lyric book. The song is a counterpoint to the driving "World Wide Suicide," a rocking tune that is great in its own right.] In hearing "Parachutes" again while following along with the words, I think it is about mourning for another existence while seeking out the good that came from it: perhaps a lost love or a place or a family, with home used as a metaphor for loss and change. It's about closure--of doors, of hearts, of the past.

I long ago "left home" both in my mind and in the physical sense but I have been grieving for what I know will never be again. In my family of origin too much time has passed, too many untruths or hurtful things have been spoken, and much rancor has made us all lock and load into our respective positions. [I have learned the true meaning of the expression "Pride goeth before the fall."] In the process of what could have been great, a house and a place became an unwitting catalyst and focus point for everyone's "stuff". We've been trying to turn the other cheek for too long and not contribute to the discussion. Sometimes a retreat in "battle" creates the opposite effect: others are left with misinformation, misconceptions, distorted facts, and residual emotions that become as toxic as poison. I am a firm believer if you are part of the dysfunction or you can't fix it outside of yourself, then the best thing to do is to withdraw and go into self-protection mode: of self, of spouse, of family.

In conflict, some things are insurmountable--others are just plain misunderstood. As objective as I try to be in life, I will never be able to unravel what has happened and I refuse to point fingers at any one person or event in the process. But despite the loss and the pain, there is still the memory of something good and I think that is why this song resonates for me now. My daughter, who will be eighteen next week, said: "MOM! You shouldn't listen to 'emo' music when you are feeling sad!" But I found it somehow cathartic and if you have a chance to hear the song it will remind you of a haunting Beatles melody. It may just stay with you.

With all of the untied aprons in the past year with certain relationships and to some degree my childhood, I have been fortunate to develop several new close friendships with strong women. One of them told me the other day that sometimes as we get older we make our own families--with our partner and/or our children but also with friendships, the kind that stay with you no matter what. "You are now my people," she said. Very few things have ever meant more to me.

In our lives sometimes we form new tribes in new lands, we move on and often just have to let go of what can't be fixed. With those with whom it will never be the same, I say: "What a different life had I not found this love with you." At the very least, I am grateful and thankful for that. But I am also sorrowful, and I am sorry.

Children parachute play

by Eddie Vedder

Why deny
All the troubles when combined
With the missing links
It don't feel like
Home now...

That you're gone
All the troubles
Suddenly explained infinitum
You're always wishing and
Never here at

All the dreams we shared and
Lights we turned on
But the house is getting dark

And I don't want to know your past
But together share the dawn
And I won't need

Nothing else
Cause when we're dead
We would've had it all

And died
I would've fallen from the sky
Til you
Parachutes have opened now

Heaven knows if there's a ceiling
Come so low with the kneeling
Please know that
I got

All the friends I'm needing
Before my light goes out
As the doors are closing now

And far away will be my home
And to grasp this, I don't know
But I don't need

Further back and forth, a wave will break on me today
And love,... Wish the world could go again with love
One can't seem to have enough
And war,... Break the sky and tell me what it's for
I'll travel there on my own
And love,... What a different life
Had I not found this love with you.

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