On the evening of Oct. 9, 2004, I watched my Dad, one of the strongest yet most sensitive men I’ve ever known, succumb to lung cancer. The whole day prior was full of visitors to the hospital and phone calls and scores of his favorite music playing in the background. As evening came, the air was calm as only my Mom, my Aunt Merry and I stayed with him. Mom finally fell asleep in a chair next to him, exhausted and unaware of these last moments to come. My Aunt and I sat together on the other side of him, reading a Real Simple magazine and dreaming of new ways to decorate our homes with colorful curtains and fresh coats of paint. There was a warmth and peace all around us, we didn’t speak of it but we knew it was there. Then, all at once, my Dad took one long, last breath and like that, he was gone.
At the memorial service, many who attended made comments like, “I just know he’s ‘up there’ driving his boat around listening to Rod Stewart” or “He’s in good hands because God made a personalized bar stool just for him.” I found such comfort in these words. I had this vision of him laughing at the horrible joke he just told and giving everyone a “high five.” It’s amazing how I can still hear his voice in my ears, see his face in my eyes and feel his love in my heart.
These were all memories I thought were tucked away in the “one day I’ll go back to that moment” locked suitcase of my brain, until I watched the final episode of Lost earlier this week.
Yes, I know, it’s just a show. The characters aren’t real, and a story about a so-called island that made people “special” is crazier than the plot for Gilligan’s Island or Fantasy Island. But, I, like many, fell in love with the characters. They were flawed like all of us. They had daddy problems, baby-mama drama and sibling issues. They loved and broke hearts. They cheated and stole. They changed, for better or worse. They lived and died. All things we deal with throughout our lives. The moment Vincent the dog laid next to Jack when he closed his eyes and prepared for his death, the fountain of tears began to pour from my eyes. And quiet frankly, that fountain hasn’t stopped since.
It’s taken me a few days to understand why the ending of a fictitious TV show had such a profound affect on me and so many others. What I’ve realized is that while I feel this incredible sense of loss that’s as painful as when my Dad died, I also feel a renewed sense of hope of seeing fallen friends and loved ones again. I bet many of you feel the same way. We’re so programmed to think one way or another about death – either you believe in going to Heaven or Hell, or you don’t. We believe in either Religion or Atheism. But what about Spiritualism? Why has open mindedness about death become so taboo and why are we so polarized because of it? I think “Lost” reminds us that we should never forget those who are so important to us, rather they or we are dead or alive.
One of the things my Dad taught me was to appreciate all kinds of music. There were songs that made him laugh and songs that made him cry. In his honor, here is a list of songs that remind me of him and my pursuit of finding hope after his death. They also remind me of redemption, love and strength – key elements of the all-so-unrealistic show “Lost.” I hope you enjoy them. And feel free to share other songs you think should be included. Remember, we’re all in this together.
And as far as my thoughts on all of those questions that were never answered? Well, I’ll leave those up to the writers and self-proclaimed show experts to handle.
Alanis Morissette, “Not As We”
Ben Folds, “Still Fighting It”
Bran Van 3000, “Everywhere”
Christina Aquilera, “Hurt”
Coldplay, “Fix You”
Corey Hart, “Never Surrender”
Dan Fogelberg, “Leader of the Band”
Dave Matthews Band, “Funny the Way It Is”
Dixie Chicks, “Not Ready to Make Nice”
Eddie Vedder, “Guaranteed”
Eminem, “I’m Not Afraid”
Jackson Browne, “Running on Empty”
Jay-Z featuring Mr. Hudson, “Young Forever”
Madonna, “The Power of Goodbye”
Sister Hazel, “Running Through the Fields”
The Verve, “Bittersweet Symphony”
T.I. featuring Justin Timberlake, “Dead and Gone”
Til’ Tuesday, “Coming Up Close”
The Fray, “How to Save a Life”
U2, “Walk On”
(You also can download the whole playlist here: http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/playlist/Blog+post+songs/29855197)