‘Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?’
– Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
I’d been digging through my emails looking for an mp3 of a song I wrote and had shared with some people but no longer have any recollection over what the lyrics were or how the melody went except for the last line. It also seems I never wrote the words down anywhere or if I did I don’t know where the paper is anymore.
Part of the reason why I couldn’t remember 99% of it was because I hardly ever played it. Coz I never could. Never could in the sense that I could never get through the song fully from top to bottom. All I remember was how I got around to writing that song and its backstory.
I’d written it August of 2011. I was 22. As with nearly everything I’d created around that time, this was another attempt at making peace with the fact that I’d lost my father.
I’d had a particularly rough night working through another bout of immense grief and did my best to sleep it off. In that sleep, the man whose presence I’d been missing came to visit me.
In the dream, we spoke. We hugged. I held him close and buried my face in his neck. I remember taking a long deep breath and getting a whiff of that scent that was uniquely my father. Then he said, ‘Bye-bye to yesterday’.
The dream felt very real. Too real. I woke up sobbing, feeling like a little girl lost without her father.
Born out of that dream was a journal entry (that later became a blog entry) and a song. The song I was looking for.
Grief is tricky thing. It follows no protocol. It comes and goes as it pleases without warning. Every anniversary is its own giant that either passes by peacefully or comes down hard on you. This year was tough. Each day approaching brought me back to 2011.
However, these emotions have always been welcome. At least, to me. They’re meant to be there. It’s all human. And you simply deal with it in your own terms. This year, it seemed, my way of dealing with the grief was in wanting to play that song. Something in me needed to play it. To find a way back to that song.
The file I’d been looking for is the only audio I have of the song. I remember wanting to record it as soon as I could so I didnt have to keep practicing it and I could just be done with it. It’s one of the very few times I got through the whole song without getting flooded over by emotions. I remember sending it to my siblings yet over time, with technological updates, I knew their copies were long gone.
However, something told me to keep digging. And dug I did. I dug as far as I could. Through the oldest corners of my oldest virtual imprints.
One afternoon, through all the digging, I found the lone copy. I was surprised to find that the biggest surprise wasn’t finding the song – it was hearing it.
I was listening to my 22-year-old self. 22-year-old-Kerly sounded so sure of herself. She sounded so light. There was a brightness to her voice. Filled with so much youthful hope amidst all the madness that was the world and this grief.
This led me to listen to some of my other old songs.
I was caught off guard.
Somehow, the songs were a lot easier to remember than the person who sang it.