Music – It Does the Talking


Music; it captivates something deep inside us, whether it is joyous and uplifting, melancholy and slow, or aggressive and thrashing. A single song or even a single riff can resonate so deeply that just hearing it can catapult our emotions to the very moment or event where we first heard it. Music can reinvigorate memories and emotions, events and even past relationships so severely that one can literally be left standing in its wake feeling as if something had just eviscerated our inner self.

We know music affects our emotions but it can also affect our moods. When we are sad we often listen to slower music with deeper words and meanings and when we are happy we tend to listen to more upbeat music. Angry or upset? Louder music with a hard edge or beat is often the music of choice. Sometimes our moods select the music and sometimes the music changes our moods.

My family is very much into music. We generally like all genres, expect country and rap, and even in those two genres we have songs we enjoy, and all three of our children started playing the piano when they were four or five years old. Our daughter was a rocker, her tastes closely emulating that of her mom, but from about 9 years old on she was serious about her music. She loved to sing (albeit sometimes out of tune), she wanted to have her own rock band when she grew up and she was sure she would meet and conspire with Chris Cornell. Had she lived I am quite sure she would have succeeded in her quests.

It was her love of music and her death that got me thinking about this topic. Kelli's memorial was truly memorable and was flanked at the beginning and the end of the service with the hard and soft rock songs from the many artists she loved. Truly an odd thing to hear blasting out of a church especially at a funeral. But anyone who knew Kelligar, knew it to be true and right.

When she died something magical happened to her older brother. Her severe and eclectic love of music transferred itself to him, he who was not as nutty about making mixed cd's and endless transferring of some new song or album to the iPod as she was. All of a sudden her love of music enveloped him and he loved it. If you had seen it yourself, you might have said he was infected with it.

I went the other way, however. I didn't listen to music for over a year after she died because every song reminded me of her. Every new album that came out from one of her favorite bands pierced my heart because I knew she would never again be able to hear it or enjoy it. My feeling was, if she can't why should I? While everyone else in the house was enjoying it, I blocked my ears and heart to it.

Her aunt did a fabulous job creating the soundtrack that accompanied her Memorial video, but I can honestly say to this day, hearing "The Way You Look" by Bruno Mars stabs at my heart and threatens my resolve. Because, I remember the way she looked from the second I first saw her beautiful little face, her fingers, her little body to the last time I looked at all those things with her lifeless body in my arms. But that song brings joy to everyone else in the family. And even though I really hate the song, the joy it brings others is something I would never want to take away from them.

It has been over five years now since Kelli died and music, her music, enters my inner sanctum daily creating a flourish of emotions, both good and bad. But I am happy that I can listen to music once again. Music is of the heart and profoundly affects the heart. There is music in my world and music in my heart now. Letting music back in was cathartic and helped me to steady the beat of my heart.

Ursula Neal

Ursula is a grief coach for mothers who have lost children helping them to move from crappy to happy again. She is also a personal growth strategist helping individuals reach their goals. She may be reached at 602-400-4423 or Facebook Google+

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