My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Hurting and healing

The postman delivered a past-due bill notice
And the alarm clock rang two hours late.
The garbage man left all the trash on the sidewalk,
And the hinges fell off of the gate.
And this morning at breakfast, I spilled all the coffee,
And I opened the door on my knee
But the last thing I needed, the first thing this morning
Was to have you walk out on me

We’ve all had days like the one Willie sang about, days where nothing seems to go right. I’ve just experienced an entire week of one bad thing happening after another that has left me feeling a little more self-indulgent than usual. Some of the events were somewhat inconsequential but were bothersome because they happened in close to succession to other annoyances. All of them paled in comparison to the loss of a beloved family member who left us in the early hours of Saturday, July 3, 2010.

Ronan didn’t live with me; he lived with my parents, but he was best friends with my two dogs and was a frequent visitor to our home. His sudden departure was a devastating blow, one with which we are still struggling to come to terms. He hadn’t been himself lately, but none of us realized how seriously ill he was.

Only an animal lover can understand the crippling pain involved with the loss of a beloved pet, and only a country music lover can understand the solace that can be found in this genre of music, which like no other, explores the depths of grief and heartbreak. Many people seek diversions to escape difficult situations, but when I’m feeling low I find the best therapy is to listen to the saddest country songs I can find.

If I sink any lower, I’ll go under.
If I cry any more, I’ll go blind.
Lord, there ain’t no relief in this missin’ you grief,
How long can you torture my mind?

Those words weren’t written about death per se, but they’ve taken on a different meaning for me in the past few days. Perhaps it’s a case of misery loving company, but knowing that someone else is going through hard times sometimes makes one’s burdens a bit easier to bear. Like Willie, George Jones was no stranger to things going wrong, both in his personal life and in song:

I woke up this morning aching with pain
I don’t think I can work, but I’ll try.
The car’s in the shop, so I thumbed all the way
Oh, these days, I barely get by.

Marsha Thornton summed up the healing powers of country music in this 1989 hit:

And Alan Jackson did likewise two years later, when he made it clear that when times are bad, only country music will do:

Country music gives us a chance to cry in our beer, and lick our wounds but it also never fails to let us know that things will get better and that time heals all wounds, as Dolly testified:

So rest in peace, my little buddy and know that you are dearly loved and sorely missed. One day we will be able to look back at the too-brief time that you were part of our lives, without feelings of deep sorrow. But in the meantime, we’ll enlist the aid of Nelson, Jones, Thornton, Jackson, McEntire, Parton, and others to make the pain a little more bearable.

What are some songs that have helped you through rough times?

4 responses to “Hurting and healing

  1. Leeann Ward July 13, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Beautiful post, Razor X. Nothing can make me cry faster than hearing that someone’s dog or cat has died. As someone who fiercely loves my dog, Amigo, I can completely empathize with your pain. I think I’ll go pet him now.

  2. Ken Johnson July 13, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    So sorry to hear about your loss.

    You words made me remember this touching moment from Jimmy Stewart


  3. Cary July 13, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    I lurk on this blog quite a bit, so it’s a shame that it takes such a sad occurrence to bring me out of my shell. But I just wanted to say that Julie Miller is where I go when I need to feel my way out of a deep, dark place: “I Still Cry” (with Patty Griffin harmonizing, from Broken Things) and “Fire And Water” (with Buddy, from Universal United House of Prayer) manage to be hopeful and heartbreaking at the exact same time. But this performance of “Broken Things” also captures some of that spirit, with its affirmation that “you can have my heart / if you don’t mind broken things”:


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