Beauty in the Breakdown – You Sure?

This resonated deeply with me. Music is such a powerful force in our lives. Since Mama died, there is much music that we shared throughout our time together that I simply can’t listen to without tears flooding my eyes as memories run their movies, crisp, clear, and vivid through my mind.

Unlike Kay, I’m not a big fan of techno-pop, preferring alternative, indie, and grunge, but I listen mainly to Radio Paradise, an internet music station that plays the most diverse range of music that I’ve been able to find, and they have played “Beauty in the Breakdown” by Frou Frou.

Ironically, it caught my attention the first time I heard it as well. I immediately saw the double meaning in my own life.

Mama’s breakdown. There was no beauty to that to be sure. However, there were beautiful moments throughout the journey. Two are prominent in my mind, when in the middle of all the chaos, confusion, and pain, Mama was delightfully Mama again. I’ve never been able to explain the timing, however, because both were just before big changes. One was the Saturday morning before Mama’s breakdown several hours later and the other was the Saturday and Sunday morning before Mama went into her death sleep in the early hours of that Sunday afternoon.

My own breakdown after Mama’s death. Beauty? It certainly doesn’t seem to be true on the surface.

I’ve never been a visibly emotional person. I worked hard, diligently, painstakingly at “controlling” my emotions all my life. I have always been very deeply affected by things and people and situations, but I found ways to keep a tight lid on that so it never showed and built fortresses around myself to protect myself.

Those fortresses began to crack after Daddy died. I never knew how deeply, how long, and how hard grief could be. I also never knew that the hole left in a heart from losing someone you love never heals completely. But I had Mama to take care of so it helped me move on quickly, burying, I think, much of what I was trying to come to grips with, and get back to the business at hand. She needed me, and that was more important.

But when Mama died, the very foundations of those fortresses seemed to have collapsed. It seems that every emotion I suppressed, hid, buried, ignored decided it was time to deal with it. All at once. In an overwhelming flood that has been difficult, to say the least, to try to sort through, make sense of, and get past.

These days, it seems I can barely speak a sentence without my voice cracking and tears welling up in my eyes. It seems as though everything is right beneath the surface waiting to just spill out without warning. I have cried rivers of tears and yet there seems to be no end to how many rivers are left. I keep thinking at some point there just can’t be any more tears, and then they come again.

But although right now I seem to be drowning in this ocean of tears, I recognize the beauty in it. Because there is some healing in the process. I’ve learned that sometimes to fix something that’s not working right or well, you have to take it completely apart, and put it back together the right way, piece by piece. And that takes time.

And, like Kay, I do recognize this about myself: “I recognize that I’m a much kinder, gentler version of my former self. For that I’m grateful.”

Dealing with Dementia

letgo Music uplifts my mood. It helps me focus and makes me happy. I will typically be listening to techno-pop — it’s better than caffeine if I want a pick-me-up.

I first heard Let Go by Frou Frou when watching Garden State (I thought it was on at the closing of an episode of Gray’s Anatomy — a show I never really watched, but Internet sources won’t validate my recollective memory on that point). It’s been in my head, but never on my iPod, so I finally downloaded it last week. I like the tune and the focus on “letting go and jumping in.”

However, today this song brought me to tears as the words hit me very differently. For a few weeks I’ve noticed a decline in my Mom. When I arrive at her community she is in the living room playing bridge with a new group of residents. Now…

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