Kelly Clarkson rocks!!
Check out her cover of
Walkin After Midnight.
Patsy Cline is still one of my favorite artists and
Video is no longer up.... if anyone knows where this can be located let me know!!!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Why I cry listening to the radio....

I have been opening the waterworks to the strangest songs on the radio. This would not be a bad thing except I only listen to the radio while I am driving and it makes for a weird scene.

I am male, 6'3" tall, about 290 pounds and drive an F150 (pickup truck for you non truck types). A red one. As I have pointed out, in a comment posted on a great blog (Living Life With Sarcasm, Kids, and MS), I have been doing this and getting some strange stares at stop lights. I mention this because it is helpful to put an image in your head.

Ok, so I was listening to the radio when an Elton John song, Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, came on. Sure enough about 5 or 6 notes in the tears started rolling. As usual I felt more than a little embarrassed, because we all know real men don't cry (riiiiiight!), but then it hit me. BAM! Another car.... no, not really. I am being reminded of something I had forgotten.

My mom, may she rest in peace, was a huge influence on me and my musical choices. She taught me that all music had something to offer and was worth listening to. Even to the end we both agreed that rap was ok to not like but I have some on my iTunes account and my iTouch (Not to mention Spice Girls, Aqua, and Toni Basil but that's another post). I remember when I was in elementary school and getting ready in the mornings. Mom would fix us some oatmeal (or something that I remember being oatmeal but could have been boiled paper for all I know now) and have the stereo playing. It wasn't always Elton John but it is his music that stands out in my memory.

She seemed to smile more when she listened to him, hum a little and even sing softly to herself. It is this memory that really stands out in my mind and quite possibly why I have a particular affinity for anything done by Elton John. While so much of my childhood is lost in an ever expanding fog these memories stand out in sharp contrast. To be honest I could not swear to you they are real anymore than I can tell you a blackhole is real. To me it is real and that is all that really matters.

My mom died in 2006 after a very long struggle with cancer. The last 8 months of her life was spent confined to a bed set up in the living room so she could be at home living with us instead of relegated to a nursing home or stuck in a back room forgotten. The last 5 months or so she could not speak or move except for a forced smile, the faintest of nods, or the grip of a titan when I would hold her hand. My father and I, along with the angels from Hospice, took care of her. The one thing she loved, even then, was listening to the radio and I do know that when any Elton John tune came on she seemed to lose herself in the music. Perhaps she was remembering something like I did or maybe even a childhood memory of her own came to keep her company for those few minutes.

This is the first part of why I am crying so much lately. I miss her dearly and would give anything to see her one more time. The second part is my MS. I am only 7 months into my diagnosis (Though I believe I have been living with the disease for more than 6 years at this point) and I am having a little trouble coping with the future. The song in question is emotional to me because of the lyrics and they do mean a lot to me.

Lyrics copied from

I can't light no more of your darkness
All my pictures seem to fade to black and white
I'm growing tired and time stands still before me
Frozen here on the ladder of my life

Too late to save myself from falling
I took a chance and changed your way of life
But you misread my meaning when I met you
Closed the door and left me blinded by the light

Don't let the sun go down on me
Although I search myself, it's always someone else I see
I'd just allow a fragment of your life to wander free
But losing everything is like the sun going down on me

I can't find, oh the right romantic line
But see me once and see the way I feel
Don't discard me just because you think I mean you harm
But these cuts I have they need love to help them heal

I guess it is true that each person takes away their own meaning from a song. This song especially reminds me of mom and the struggle I have to face with my MS. She fought her cancer to the very end. She never once said she would lose to it. Even when the meds made her loopy she fought. Regardless of the fact that the cancer was doing things to her she could not control she never gave up. She was a strong woman with a heart the size of the universe even down to that last day. I remember feeding her breakfast (A little bit of scrambled eggs, toast and orange juice). She could not talk but her eyes spoke volumes. There was a fire that burned in those eyes that I am reminded of when I hear songs she loved or would have loved. She lived to the very end.

That is why I am crying right now. I will not give up without a fight. I will not let her down; not now, now ever. MS may be doing things to me that I can not control I will not let MS control my life. I will still live each day as hard as I can and I will do it for myself, for my friends and family but most of all for the memory of my mom. To truly be alive you have to live no matter what your circumstance and to do anything less is giving up.

She didn't.

Why should I be any different?


Denver Refashionista said...

I appreciate your honesty. It takes the biggest kind of man to admit their feelings. Songs make me teary all the time.

I was diagnosed in April of 2008 and I can tell you it does get easier. I used to think that maybe MS would lead me to lose my job, my house and many of the things I cared about. It has not brought any loss into my life but has taught me to slow down and prioritize. For a while I was so sick and anxious I was afraid I might have to quit my job as a teacher. Now I have finished a full school year with MS and it was ok.

Since my diagnoses I also completed 200 hours of yoga teacher training and I am also now a yoga teacher (a big dream realized). You might think I could do all this because I have mild MS but I actually had 3 relapses in the space of a year so it has not been easy. As my mental state has improved and I have learned my limits, my health has improved. Don't be afraid to rest or ask for help. Don't be afraid to cry. In the end I think you will smile more if you allow yourself to grieve. Being diagnosed makes you face your own mortality. It is a death itself but it does get easier. Hang in there!

Mike said...

Thanks for stopping by. I started the blog as an occasional thing but lately it is becoming my sounding board. In my trips around looking for MS blogs I have found a lot of great info and even better people. I guess you folks are my own public support group. lol

I am trying to stay positive but realistic at the same time. The whole thing is quite sobering and really makes you think. I have always said before that life is too short to be wasting it being hateful or mean or just useless but since January it's all too real.

I had a friend tell me something funny a little bit ago. She told me I should get some help in dealing with my MS and everything else. I told her about the blog and the people I am meeting and how it is helping. There was a pause and then she asked "ummm, people on the internet are actually helpful?"

HAHAHA! I don't think she hangs out in the right places. I need to go take my shots and hit the sack. I have a lawn to mow in the morning. yay me?

TickledPink said...

You have been through a LOT and have earned the right to cry like a man in your pickup truck. What a picture. LOL I hope you meant that part to be funny because it was. :)

I, too, cry at songs... and commercials, and sad movies, and sunsets, and full moons... and the drop of a hat. Fortunately, I'm female and can use that for an excuse.

I lost my dad to cancer 9 years ago and while the pain of it does become bearable eventually, I still miss him terribly.

Same as your mom, he died of cancer, on a hospice bed in his home. My mother, sister and I were singing "you are my sunshine" to him as we held his hand while he died. I can't hear that song (or any other song that has meaning for me about him) without bursting into tears.

I was diagnosed 10 years ago, right after finding out I had cervical cancer while pregnant with a son I refused to abort, to whom I gave birth 2 months prematurely in an emergency c-section only to have a hysterectomy 3 months later and then BAM!... 3 months after that I got my MS diagnosis when I was numb up to my waist.

That was a year to remember. :P

When dad passed away the next year, I think he worried more about me than anything else. Last thing I said before we sang him off to the Great Beyond was "don't worry about me, Dad, I'll be fine."

Dang if I ain't feeling pretty fine 9 years later. :-)

Better things are coming for MSers, my friend. Hang in there...

And cry like a man whenever you want! There are those of us out there driving that same road and crying over those same songs who understand what you are going thru.

BTW, lots of Elton John songs do that to me, too.

Thanks for the mention on Twitter, that's how I found you. :D (I'm FingoHead there)

Mike said...

HI! Thanks for visiting. I am glad you saw the humor in it like I do. Humor has always been a big part of my life and I am certainly not afraid to poke fun at myself. It is what I know the most about after all. :)

I do want to say that as bad as things have been for me I should always remember there are people that have it as bad or possibly worse. You have certainly had your share and then some. I tip my hat to you. /tip

I added you on twitter as well. :)

A.Marie said...

Hi there! I found your blog through a round-about way; I was reading Anne over at Disable Not Dead, then I went over to Living Life With Sarcasm, Kids, and MS, and from there I found your blog! You have some great posts and I enjoyed reading them. I'll be back again soon! :)

Blinders Off said...

I like you to know REAL MEN are the ones who are not afraid to cry. Sorry to hear about your Mom, July marks one year ago my husband lost his mother.

I noticed you said it has been 7 months ago when you were diagnosis with MS. If you have not, done so yet contact the National MS Society and request the Knowledge is Power series. It is very helpful when you are first diagnosis. Furthermore, the best MS support group is in the blogosphere.

Amy Gurowitz said...

Hi Mike, I found you via twitter and am enjoying your blog. While we may not agree on everything (see Politics Suck ;)) we certainly share a lot. I've had MS since 1988, diagnosed when I was 20years old, and can truly appreciate much of what you write about. Living this live of challenges and unpredictable changes has ultimately empowered me and writing has been my most effective coping mechanism. In the 21 years I've been living with MS, I truly believe "That which does not kill me makes me stronger"- as I'm am prepared for anything MS dishes out. I look forward to visiting your blog and hope you might come check out mine. and learn more of this common ground we share in our fight against MS. All the best to you.