Thursday, March 6, 2008
"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.