This is another nope song of the highest order. Which is extremely difficult to avoid, because it’s from one of my all time favorite musicals and written by one of the greatest songwriters/composers/musical geniuses EVER! His only fault is CATS, but a rant about Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most overrated and underwhelming work is for another time and place.
Anybody who knows me for any amount of time knows that I LOVE musicals. It’s an obsession that comes second only to my obsession with pirates and MAY even top it at times. If you’ve read this blog then you know music is the way to my soul, but music WITH a well told story?! I am ALL over it.
After we lost Marriah and I realized that I had to be cautious with music due to the extreme ways it could trigger me, I was careful about listening to the radio and I was careful about which playlists I put on shuffle. Even as I was double checking every aspect of my music, I never once thought that I would need to think about musicals before I indulged in them. It never even crossed my mind that some of my favorites might be tainted by grief.
There were some obvious ones that I had to be careful with because of memories associated.
Marriah and I had been working on trying to get some costumes together from “The Little Mermaid” as well as find/plan a party to wear them. We had it mostly planned out too. Just needed to fill everyone (i.e. her husband, our brothers, her sister-in-love) in and get the party in the works. I was even going to buy us tickets to see it live at Casa Manaña the month after her birthday, but instead I lost her 2 weeks before. I can handle it sometimes and other times I can’t. We used to goof off and duet the songs, so it’s hard to listen sometimes and I haven’t watched it since.
Another one that I am careful with is “Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog”. If you have never heard of this short, 3 act, gem and masterpiece, then I highly suggest you look it up. The gist is Joss Whedon, his brothers, and some friends got together during the Hollywood writers strike in 2007 and created this work of art about a villain who just wants to be recognized and his dopey hero nemesis. I was introduced to it my senior year in high school by my Sisstor, loved it immensely, then turned around and introduced it to Marriah, her husband (at the time boyfriend), my parents and brother. Flash forward a couple years and we would sing it at the house when Marriah and hubby would come hang out. I can listen to the music, I can even watch it still, but I have to ask myself if I’m in the right place with my emotions first. Do I have a handle on the memories? Am I going to randomly bust out in tears during “Bad Horse Chorus” as I remember dancing around with her and Bubba?
The obvious memory infused musicals are easy, but I never had any idea that I would end up balling watching The Phantom of the Opera at my desk, in my cubicle, while working on a project. I just thought I need something I can listen to mindlessly while I knocked these binders out. Plus, Gerard Butler singing to me about the music of the night never hurt a single person…ever. Mmmm.
It was slow, it wasn’t right at the first verse of the offending song, it kind of crept up on me. I started getting teary eyed and I thought that it was because it’s such an emotional song and raw moment in the story. Then the verses before the musical interlude that would bring in the big crescendo of music and emotion started, and so did the waterfall of salt down my face. The moment Christine starts to sing “wishing I could hear your voice again, knowing that I never would…passing bells and sculpted angels…the wrong companions, you were warm and gentle” I was gone. Lost to my emotions and heart break until the last line “help me say goodbye”. I couldn’t help it. Those words were so true, and so shattering. I was suddenly broken out of my stupor when the fight between the Phantom and Raoul started.
Grief is hard.
I don’t think a single sane person on earth will tell you any differently. However, people who think you can shove grief in to a box and say that you’ll better once go through the steps….they are certifiable. While I believe in the different types of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, etc.), I don’t think you can make them into a 12 step program and be done grieving at the end.
Grief is a life long journey.
I’ve been at many of the “stages” many times. The reason this song and the title of this post hit me so hard is because of the “bargaining stage” of grief. I’ve told myself and prayed to God hundreds of times bargaining. I would give up ever seeing her, hugging her neck, doing all the things we planned…..if I could just talk to her! I just want to hear her voice, her logic, her opinion!! She was my sounding board and the little angel on my shoulder whispering in my ear.
Logically, I know that would never be enough. I would always want more. But as I’ve said over and over for the last 2.5 years…grief isn’t logical. In those darker moments, I’M not logical. Anyone who expects differently is selling something. (Inside joke for those like Marriah and I that love “The Princess Bride”!!)
I haven’t completely shied away from Phantom. It was a bucket list item for me to see it live by a professional company and I got that chance this year with my season tickets to Bass Performance Hall’s “Broadway at the Bass” 2019-20202 season. This show started Momma and I’s second season and I am so glad she was the one I was there with. There is no fast forward or mute when you are watching a live production and there was no way I would have been able to sneak out and back in. I told her during intermission that Act 2 would be interesting, she asked why, and I told her that there was a “Nope!” song during the second act. When she asked me what I was going to do, I simply told her I was gonna deal.
I was not going to let grief ruin something I wanted for so long.
I cried from the moment the song started until the moment the song ended. But I smiled…when the curtain closed and the actors took their bows…I smiled and I did not let the devil named grief ruin the dream performance I had just witnessed.
I chose to not let the grief win in that moment.
I will always wish that she were somehow here again, but the song states “why can’t the past just die?” and that is NOT something I wish for. That’s the only line of the song that doesn’t sit well with me. The past is all I have to remember her.
Love you always. Miss you forever, Sunflower. 🌻
Credits: “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” (The Phantom of the Opera, 1986 musical)
Artist: depends on the actress playing Christine Daae
Written: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart, Richard Stilgoe