J’y Suis Jamais Allé
The Mohawk is a local music institution in Austin. It has a main stage outside with multiple levels of porches and areas to listen to the music. There are also some big old trees that hang over the benches, and the sound circles around everything.
Four years ago, Tim and I went to see Yann Tiersen play there with some friends. Yann is a French musician and composer. He did the soundtrack for Amélie, which was one of Tim’s favorite movies. Anyway, outside of soundtrack composing Yann Tiersen does instrumental/electronic stuff. Here’s a clip a video from the same show that we went to many years ago.
The music was lovely and the company was excellent, but neither of those things are what make this evening stand out in my mind. For a rare time in Austin, we had something like a real winter. Chilly nights in the 20’s in February and the night of the Yann Tiersen show at Mohawk… actual snow. So Tim and I were huddled together in thick coats on the upper balcony looking down at the performance. The lights of the stage glowed a warm orange and red while light, dry snow fell softly all around us. The band kept playing, and I just remember a lot of swirling colors and this building, beautiful melody that surrounded everything. We went to many shows at The Mohawk since that, but the snow show was always my favorite.
Over the weekend, I found myself at this venue again watching a friend’s band, Wildcat Apollo. I couldn’t stop thinking about the night in February in the snow.
In the bar while I was waiting for the band with my friends, they played a Yann Tiersen track from Amélie.
Was this one of those “oh he is with you!” signs that people search for? Was it just coincidence that this random classical track was on the bar’s loop of music? It ended up playing twice that night, so obviously the playlist wasn’t very long. I’m not saying I had a religious experience or felt my husband’s hand on my shoulder or anything, but half the time it feels like that and half the time it feels like the universe is playing mean tricks on a really sad widow. I spent some time wondering what this “sign” meant, some time listening to the music and some time trying not to cry.
People tell me I’m strong, and while I don’t necessarily disagree… I also don’t think I have a choice in this situation. I can’t hide from this loss. It is everywhere. I spent nine years with this man. I lived in three different states and traveled the world with him. I grew up with him. Everywhere I go, it’s something.
17 thoughts on “J’y Suis Jamais Allé”
I swear these things happen by more than chance. I’m glad you have such a beautiful memory with Tim. While it’s true you can’t hide from what you’re going through, it is a sign of strength that you’re pressing on. You’re getting out and doing and experiencing things. You’re facing these memories head on. And I think you’re appreciating them.
That’s what being strong is.
You know, Lauren, if it brings comfort to think of it as a sign, then do so. If it brings comfort to remember the wonderfilled moments of your life, then do so. I don’t think there is a wrong answer here. Even if Tim’s soul isn’t with you, the sense of him in your memories is, and that’s what’s important. How you describe that sense of connection matters less than allowing yourself the space to experience these bitter sweet moments.
As always, beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this with us.
People tell me I’m strong, and while I don’t necessarily disagree… I also don’t think I have a choice in this situation.
This. This describes how I felt so well – like my response to “oh you are so strong!” should have been “well, what ELSE am I supposed to do? I have to keep functioning.”
The morning after my dad died, a redtail hawk flew into our back yard and perched on the fence and just … looked at me. I called my mom and sister in, and the hawk just waited until we were all there, looked at us, and eventually cocked its head, gave us a funny look, and flew off.
Sign? Maybe. My very atheist mom said “maybe it’s dad.” Maybe just a hawk doing hawk things. Either way … to me it showed that yes, my dad is still there. Little coincidences.
Beautifully written. Hugs.
when my dad died, and then my grandmother about four months later, my aunt had a very strange dream where my grandmother spoke to her from heaven and told her she was there with her parents, and her husband, and some friends, etc. and my aunt asked her, what about joe? and my grandmother told her he hadn’t come yet, because he felt bad about leaving my mom. really fucking weird. I just take that stuff as it comes, let it feel kind of nice, but don’t put too much thought into it. otherwise I just get really freaked out.
You are strong and you are pressing on. You may not feel like you have a choice in the matter, but you do. You are choosing to embrace and celebrate all that was good about your nine years with Tim. You are choosing to face everything, the good and the bad, head on, with honesty and with dignity. That is why so many are impressed with your strength and your grace. Because many people make the choice to not, or simply can’t, do what you are doing every day. I am in awe of your strength and all you have already accomplished.
Thank you. There was so much more good than bad… a lot to celebrate.
Shauna said it so much better than I ever could. People “face” things differently. *And here is where I was going to leave a link to a picture of the mid-breakdown Britney Spears DIY shaved head haircut. I will not, because Shauna is more eloquent and there’s no need now. But you know the image. You know it.* Just know, there are so many ways to face things. You are facing them head on. And if at anytime you feel you also want to get a DIY shaved head haircut, please call me first.
Even though the reminders hurt right now, it will be nice to have those little reminders one day; reminders that even if he isn’t still here he’s always a part of your life, even if it is in small ways.
Lots of hugs to you. So many hugs.
i’m sorry it can feel like a cruel joke. that’s a beautiful memory tho – thank you for sharing with us!
I love the way you write. It’s so beautifully said.
I’m agnostic but would like to believe that there is something else. To many times I’ve had “signs” or people I know have had something happen. It can’t all be coincidence…
That’s kind of how I feel. The universe is too complicated for everything to be random, at least to me. Plus while I wasn’t really sure what things meant this past weekend, I have had an exchange if you will that I KNOW means something. No doubt in my mind about that.
These signs will be there forever. They make you feel like crying now, but soon enough they’ll bring smiles to your face and joy in your heart. You are focusing on the positive and making time to remember nice moments rather than focus on the sad and the end. That is why you are handling this in such an impressive way – many others crumple under the weight by focusing only on sadness and loss.