Don’t fight the storm, the sorrow of the sea
Don’t be afraid when it’s raging
Don’t fight the waves
Let them rock me off to sleep
While you sing me a hymn for the crossing.
– Amy Speace
I imagine for many of us trying to live our grief the verse from the song above resonates. Last Saturday was a special night. I attended a concert headlined by Amy Speace and Megan Palmer at Green Guitar Folk House. One of the folks who was there described it as a night “when the muses visited.” A transcendent performance. Magical. The combination of Amy’s voice, soulful songwriting, and Megan’s fiddle snuck their way into my heart and gently opened it.
For me, being a feeling type, I am afraid of being overwhelmed by my grief. When Amy started singing “Hymn for the Crossing” it rose up in me. I was back at Dad’s bedside as he was preparing to leave us and join Mom and others who had already made the crossing. Those last few hours were peaceful. The air felt different, some might consider it odd that the last moments of my Dad’s dying were simultaneously some of the most vivid moments of my living.
I didn’t sing a hymn for Dad’s crossing. Oh how I wish I could. But I did whisper words of gratitude and encouragement that his work here was done and we would all be okay. As he gradually let go, I was attuned to each breath. There were times sitting with my Dad when I would join him by echoing the rhythm of his breath even as that labored whispered melody slowly faded and become irregular. It made me feel more connected during a time when our normal ways of communication were limited.
On Saturday, I was eased into letting my breath and heart open by riding the melody of the music. It’s the only way I can describe it. I felt so connected to the sounds – voices, guitar, fiddle – and the feeling they evoked. Not just the sounds but the women who were inspired to share such intimacy with us. Their music was a lullaby that rocked me, not to sleep, but to feeling more alive. And for me those moments of life were entwined with my grief. The music was my cradle, giving me comfort that I was safe, as the waves of grief gently washed over me.
Thank you Amy and Megan. A hundred times thank you.