"I’ve been wearing all black since the day it started…"
With that very first line, from the very first track on Jenny Lewis’ new album, something starts to ring familiar to me, and I am on the verge of being a sobbing mess. By the time she closes the first verse with “I’m not the same woman that you were used to,” I know exactly what she’s talking about it, even though she doesn’t actually talk about what “it” is.
She’s singing about what happens after the passing of someone close and how it changes a person. It changed me when my father passed away three years ago. I thought I was okay right after his passing. We had 17 months leading up to his passing, knowing exactly what the outcome would be, and I used that time to try to come to terms with it. Six months after he passed, however, and I was not okay with it. I felt hardened, unsure of who this new person was inside of me, wanting to reach out to others but mostly unwilling and partly unable to really communicate what changes had occurred.
And it wasn’t just about my father’s passing, it was about mortality in general. How do we do this every day knowing it’s all going to end? Why do we think we’re going to live forever when that’s clearly not the case? Death is a part of life. It’s unavoidable. So, why was this fact of life such a one-two knockout punch to me?
I was bedridden for almost a month, crippled with all these existential questions, before I finally got tired of my own stench and decided that even though I didn’t have all the answers to life, the answer that made the most sense is just to live my own life the best I can. It sounds simple but when you’re faced with momentous changes in life, sometimes the simplest things can be forgotten.
To hear this recited as a chorus is affirming and means so much to me at this point in my life. Not every day is a great day but I try my best and I’m not alone.