You know those moments where you’re driving along, minding your own business, and it feels like you zero in on what you are listening to and you just know it’s meant for you? Yeah, that happens.
One day in June or July of 2016 I was driving in my car and listening to a podcast by Shauna Neiquist. She was interviewing Amanda Sudano Ramirez who is one-half of Johnnyswim (aka my favorite band). She was talking about Johnnyswim’s album, Georgica Pond. Amanda and her husband, Abner Ramirez had each lost a parent while they were working on this album and it had made an impact.
Through the interview, they spoke about Amanda’s mom as though I should know who she was. Turns out…I totally did, her mom is Donna Summer. I’m purposely using the word is because when someone you love passes away, as Donna Summer had done, they may be gone from this world but they still exist in our hearts and memories.
As soon as I got to work, I looked them up and fell in love. I mean, besides the fact they are adorable as a couple and gorgeous in general, their songs are amazing. Start watching on YouTube and you may not stop. (ps- I know that this isn’t everyone’s style but it’s my blog and you are going to like it dang it! My own husband isn’t a fan of this style of music…we’re working through it.) 😉
As I began playing “Georgica Pond” I sensed a difference. Like this was going to be good—monumental even. As I got deeper I could hear the loss they’d both experienced in the lyrics. Something connected with how they phrased their feelings. I’d never felt like someone understood how I felt or that my feelings were okay. (Now, before you go thinking that this album is doom and gloom, there are a lot of great uplifting love songs here as well. Someday I’ll have to write a blog about my other lightbulbs with their songs like “First Try” or “Villans” or “Touching Heaven.”)
About halfway through the album, I was hooked and then the opening cords of “Let It Matter” parted the clouds of spreadsheets and emails I was working on and all I could see was the song. I was stopped in my tracks. I had only heard the first line and had to start the song over. This was meant for me. Holy cow was it meant for me.
About the same time I heard the podcast, I had been thinking about how I had (not) dealt with the loss of my grandma over the last year. We had just “celebrated” (not really) her one-year “anniversary” (again, not a great word). It bothered me how I grieved for her. I didn’t feel like I did. All of a sudden, it made sense to me. Listen to it. Stop what you are doing and listen.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Johnnyswim
I just listened again. Every time I hear the song, I wish I could go back to when my brother (1992), Grandma Britton (2002), and Grandma Lentz (2017) had passed. I would do it differently. Read the lyrics.
“I wanna feel it hurt like losing someone should.” Johnnyswim, “Let It Matter”
I don’t let it hurt. When people I love have died, I rush to help other people. I didn’t want to feel the hurt. Losing someone should hurt. When I heard the above lyrics it really hit home. I just lost someone. To act as if I hadn’t does me no good. I see that now. When I had that first realization, it was like a gut-punch. It should hurt to lose someone and while it definitely hurt, I didn’t allow myself the time to think, process, and cry. I didn’t when Andrew died and that’s still part of the grief I realize has settled into other parts of my personality that I have to deal with.
I’ve wanted to write this blog for a while. I don’t know that I’ve done the song justice. I mean, I could do a play-by-play of how the lyrics spoke to me and how I wish it existed when I was going through Andrew’s death. I could talk endlessly about how every single verse still brings me to a place where I feel all the feels. I mean, sure, you could take it too far and let the loss matter until it’s the only thing that matters—that’s not healthy either. These lyrics though…thanks Johnnyswim. I’m sorry you’ve lost your mom, Amanda. I’m sorry you’ve lost your dad, Abner. I’m not sorry I heard this song and it helped me. As you’ve said yourself…
“You were worth the joy my love, you are worth the pain… But escape is a waste ain’t no use in hiding you know the best way over’s through.” Johnnyswim, “Let it Matter”
So, if you’ve lost someone, please make the time and let it matter. The best way over it really is through it. You can’t escape the hurt. Trust me. In college, I dealt with bits of Andrew’s death. I’m still dealing with it in different ways now that I’m a mother. I’m finding time to stop, pause, feel the feelings, feel the void, cry, be silent, and smile at the good memories. Please, let it matter.
Here’s a link to their site. Listen. It’s worth it.