The power of a song is in its melody made even more powerful by its lyrics. My son and I shared a love of a variety of music. It took almost a full year after he died for me to listen to music of any kind. It seemed that any song would open the floodgates and I would weep for hours prompted by the first note of a song. It could be a simple song from the past…a lullaby from his childhood like “You Are My Sunshine” or a song from his teen years…actually, many songs from his teen years. Brandon would introduce me to songs that I had yet to hear because he prided himself for not really liking mainstream music like the top 40 on the radio. He really loved Bjork and Nine Inch Nails and America and other artists I was not so aware of. One time he was very excited for me to hear a song by Deep Forrest named “Sweet Lullaby”….which is now one of my all time favorite songs trumping many of the Beatles songs I have loved.
I tried to keep music that I deemed vulgar and violent out of his hands. Because of Brandon’s passion for workouts and weightlifting, he was prone to downloading metal music not fit for anyone. He said those heavy metal sounds gave him bursts of energy. I found many of the ones I dared to listen to when he was at school far too disturbing. It was those cds that became missing. Sometimes I would find depressing and suicidal lyrics written out in his hand that he claimed came from those songs. I would caution him to not let those influences ruin his Chirstian upbringing. I thought of it as a phase because I knew he actually had good tastes in music for the most part. It saddened me that he would listen to the songs of Kurt Cobain and Trent Reznor….one would die by suicide. I don’t know if Cobain’s depression was created by the sad music or that because he was depressed that he wrote with such melancholy. I just look back now and wonder for how long and how much was this an influence in Brandon’s life. Hindsight can be cruel.
Brandon had always dreamed of becoming a script writer and he wrote and drew much of his short life. I encouraged him to continue even though I knew that the likelihood of being in the movie industry was minimal because of where we lived. Hollywood could have been a million miles away. It was our slogan to “always have plan B”…and he pretty much followed that suggestion, becoming a nurse as his “practical dream.” Another thing I wanted to protect him from was rejection. Because I had always had that dream of being a writer, too, I knew from my own experience that rejection was a stark reality of the writing profession. The mom in me wanted to spare him if I could. Brandon made a few short films that were scary and very good, Once he even used my Enya cd with its creepy druid like music for the background.
Being a movie buff, Brandon could remember the lines of each character in a movie and do impersonations very well. I can’t think of a movie that Brandon hadn’t seen in his 29 years. His love of movies varied like his music. Some of his favorites throughout his life were “Taps,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Napoleon Dynamite,” “The Godfather,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Sling Blade” (oh, how he did a great impression of “Carl” .. Billy Bob Thornton), “Transformers”, “The Departed”, “Gladiator”, anything with Matt Damon in it, so many more. One movie I am not sure if he ever saw, was “The Lord of the Ring” trilogy. And because it was one that I did not think he had seen, I watched it from my deep dark grieving room. I wanted to watch something that could take my mind off the sadness. I decided to watch it because I knew the author Tolkein was a Christian and he may have written about good and evil with that in mind, as did his contemporary, and good friend, C.S. Lewis. Lewis wrote “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” with Christ (Aslan) as the sacrificial lamb in the story. I wanted to be ministered to by the dark and the Light….I wanted some kind of understanding made clear to me in the simple telling of good and evil. I was not disappointed.
The song from the movie “May It Be” has darkness as its theme with a hopeful message. With its sad strains and inspirational mix, I can relate. I not only think of the promise in the song for my son but also for myself. Brandon found his way through many of life’s trials with God and prayer, and I know that in the end God led Brandon to where He is.
“May It Be”
Shines down upon you
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true
You walk a lonely road
Oh! How far you are from homeMornie utulie (Darkness has come)
Believe and you will find your way
Mornie alantie (Darkness has fallen)
A promise lives within you nowMay it be the shadow’s call
Will fly away
May it be you journey on
To light the day
When the night is overcome
You may rise to find the sunMornie utulie (Darkness has come)
Believe and you will find your wayMornie alantie (Darkness has fallen)
A promise lives within you now
A promise lives within you now