Thursday, March 6, 2008

Autumn Song

"Autumn" by Paolo Nutini

Autumn leaves under frozen souls,
Hungry hands turning soft and old,
My hero crying as we stood out there in the cold,
Like these autumn leaves I don't have nothing to hold.

Handsome smiles wearing handsome shoes,
Too young to say, though I swear he knew,
And I hear him singing while he sits there in his chair,
While these autumn leaves float around everywhere.

And I look at you, and I see me,
Making noise so restlessly,
But now it's quiet and I can hear you sing,
'My little fish don't cry, my little fish don't cry.'

Autumn leaves how fading now,
That smile that I've lost, well I've found some how,
Because you still live on in my father's eyes,
These autumn leaves, all these autumn leave, all these autumn leaves are yours tonight.

I was listening to Paolo Nutini's song for the umpteenth time on the way to work yesterday morning. The sun had set the late morning on Illuminate and the bright snow looked like frosting scraped off the side of the pan. I paid attention to the lyrics this time, though I had been vaguely aware that the song tugged at my heart. Such an ache.

The words flooded my brain and I couldn't back up or out of the song, and before I could brake, my eyes welled up with tears. Mourning the loss of someone you loved doesn't really follow any sensible chronology. Grief is a story that has no beginning, middle or end. Grief, like fiction, is always in the present tense as soon as you open the book.

My son is that book, walking and talking around the apartment. Each year that passes, each new accomplishment, a reminder of what Murph will never see. It is hard to type these words because the tears well up again, and I try to choke back the emotion. I want to cry out. I want to howl in this moment. I want my son to have a memory of Murph.

I know Murph lives on, I see him in my mother's eyes. Perhaps there is a reflection of him in my eyes, a gleam my son sees each and every day? You don't love someone for nearly 30 years without them leaving something of themselves on you -- some impression. Though he may not be encoded in the chemistry of my bones, believe me, I carry him with me.

I hope I give some of him to my son.

He wasn't your grandpa, exactly, I'll tell my son. He was your Papa Murph, and man, did he love us.


  1. I guess that the good memories we have are the only things we have to help beat the grief back from our doorsteps when it comes to call.

  2. Because you care so much you son will know him and love him without ever having met him.

    The stories you tell will bring him to life for your son.

  3. This caught me unaware and made me feel grief... sort of like that song.


    Nicely done.

  4. Go listen to it on iTunes. I want to know if it's just me, or if that song can freaking reach into your chest and clutch your heart in its grasp.

  5. aye aye...

    downloading now.

    I've already got Plant/Krauss on loop... you need to pick all my depressing music for me.

  6. That song hurts. A lot.

    I remember once before when you wrote about Murph, it stayed with me. If you can do that in one blog, I have no doubt that you'll pass him on to your son;)

    (Origami Vajayjay:)

  7. I'm with the anonymous Origami Vajayjay...I remember Murph and I never met him. I remember Murph because I read the words you wrote about him. You sang your love for him to us and we remember. Of course, the boy will know him...his mother is a storyteller and because Murph lives on in you. You are who you are because he was in your life.

    I get sad sometimes that my father is only a story I tell my children. He died long before they were born...but in a way it's nice because I get to tell them my favorite things. Also, I am very much like my

  8. I feel a group hug coming on.

    I think you know what that means. You people rule. Thank you.

    (I was kidding about the group hug. Don't touch me.)

  9. This made me cry.
    My nipples are rocks right now. I remember your tribute to Murph from one of your older blogs and how touching that was. He can have a memory. Show him pics, tell him stories. I pulled out old family albums this past wekend at my folks and we went through them with Kellen. Oh he was in heaven! Kept asking where he was, hahaha.

  10. of course you would comment on that :P
    Am I the only one who gets hard nipples along with the hair standing up on my arms when something moves me? Surely it cant be

  11. family is family...blood or no

    always good to have someone like that in your life, for however long

  12. I remember your post about Murph and how special he was to you. xo

    PS : Paolo Nutini. Do you remember me leading you to his song ...New Shoes?