Tuesday, May 4, 2010

That's all she ever thinks about; Riding with the wind

Tonight, I was reminded a lot of people who aren't with us anymore. It was Erin's going away party (and of course grad school is certainly a more benign "not with us anymore.") But we were at Arctica Bar and Dion & Pete played. Then their friend, Tucker, who was a fantastic guitar player. Back to back, he played two songs that both make me think of funerals. By missing those people, all the people came flooding into my mind.  

First, he played "Little Wing" which will forever and always remind me of my dear friend Gia's mother's funeral, when we were 22. I remember literally every single thing about that day. It was August, it was really hot and dry and blazingly sunny (like always- it was Vegas.) Everyone was squinting. And crying. It was a bad day for eyes. We were at a huge Catholic church and it felt like there were about three thousand people there. All Kathleen's sisters and extended Italian family.

The whole thing never seemed real. It came out of no where. Kathleen was so young and so pretty and was engaged to be married to a great guy that it had taken her a long time to find after she and Gia's dad divorced. Then, all of a sudden, on a desert road near their house, her Escalade flipped and it was all over.  

I remember that this was the first time I ever felt like I knew what I should do in regards to someone else's tragedy. What do you do with someone else's tragedy? I've been on the other end, for sure, and seen really great friends be at a total loss. So often, what starts as an attempt to comfort and "be there" for the grieving person only leads to the grieving person having to be there for the other person. It becomes about the wrong person.
But this day, this one day, I finally felt like I knew what I should do. Not say anything unless asked, and not call attention to myself as "someone to lean on." I said this one thing to Gia: "I'm going to be no farther away than 5 feet from you at all times today. I'm not going to say anything or buzz around you, like I know is going to happen. I'm not going to offer you food or advice or scripture. I'm just going to let you know that if you need me, I'll be no farther away than 5 feet."
The moment in the day when everyone really broke down (there were several almosts, but this was really the climax) was after the last speech of Kathleen's fiance and it lead right into this video montage of her with "Little Wing."
"Little Wing" is a truly perfect example of not over-writing lyrics. That with very few words and images, if they're that good, you hardly need anything.

Well she's walking through the clouds 
 With a circus mind that's running round 
 Butterflies and zebras 
 And moonbeams and fairy tales 
 That's all she ever thinks about 
 Riding with the wind. 

 When I'm sad, she comes to me 
 With a thousand smiles, she gives to me free 
 It's alright she says it's alright 
 Take anything you want from me, Anything. 

 Fly on little wing

PS-The other song was Stevie Ray Vaughan, "Life by the Drop." There's the obvious alcohol implications there. But one of the only times I've ever seen my dad get emotional was when SRV died. There's a lot of rivalry over who does the definitive "Little Wing," but I've posted SRV's since both of these things came together for me this evening. Also, here is some Sting "Little Wing," since he really rocked the vocals. And this is the one that makes me think of Kathleen. And hope she's well where she is.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Why Stop Now?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...