Submitted by Albert
Music is one of my oldest loves in life. It is freedom, expression, and power. It surrounds you the way that any emotion would. It has had such an impact on my life from so early on that it was one of things I was most looking forward to teaching, sharing, and enjoying with my son Auggie.
I wanted his room to be filled with it. Maurice Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloe,” Coleman Hawkin’s “Body and Soul,” Radiohead’s “How to Disappear Completely,” Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried,” Mocedade’s “Eres Tu,” Tupac’s “Dear Mama.”
Instinctively, I used music to cope with Auggie’s passing. My Auggie playlist is there on the dark days and the times when I want to put the world on pause. It’s an offbeat mix of songs that reminds me of him in general, like The Sundays’ “Monochrome,” which recounts a girl’s early morning hours on July 20, 1969 watching the moon landing, the same date as Auggie’s birthday.
The playlist also has songs that where I imagine the universe speaking to me, or me speaking to Auggie. Dawes’ “Doomscroller Tries to Relax” sings “Let’s enjoy each other’s company on the brink of our despair. Does someone have a song to sing? Or a joke that they could share?” Palace’s “Heaven Up There” asks, “Is it heaven up there? ‘Cause it’s hell down here.”
But the song that has the biggest impact for me lyrically has been Senses Fail’s “If There Is Light, It Will Find You.” Singer Buddy Nielsen wrote the song from his own experience of his wife coming close to dying during the birth of their daughter. The song is about him facing the idea of raising his daughter alone.
It’s an incredibly moving song, something most people wouldn’t expect from a rock/metal/punk band. The title alone is poignant enough, but digging through the rest of the lyrics it’s impossible for me to not transpose the original meaning into my own situation.
“How am I supposed to move on when I’m so afraid of the loneliness that I feel when the sun sets on your grave? I guess that the best thing I can do with my time is love every minute of life.”
But really for me the part that has resonated the most, the part that I have listened to again and again and again, the part that I wholly connect with and meditate on is:
“If we don’t lose someone who we would die for
How do we pick ourselves off the floor
And face each day as if we’re not dying alone?
We’ve got to love ourselves, that’s how we respect our dead.”
Your mom and dad love you so much, Auggie. It would be all too easy for me to give up and not try, but what kind of father would I be to you if I did? What example would it be to you? How should I honor your memory? If I truly love you as I say and feel that I do, I have to love myself, too, to honor your memory.
You will be with me at every concert, sitting next to me listening to every record, in every note that I pluck out, and the reason for me to strive to be the best man I can be.