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 eltonography.com
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
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
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
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.
Why should I be any different?