I came at Gram sideways, when my eyes saw the words ... Grievous Angel, Fallen Angel, Love Hurts ... it was December, 2003 and I hadn't listened intently to any of Gram's music. I'd heard it over the years, but I'd never sat and played it in a dark room with my soul torn open, Gram playing on a little boombox
while I sobbed like I could cry everyone's mortality away.
See, someone had just died. Here were all of her things, I'm trying to sort them out - and here was her Gram records. I had never known that Gram sang "Love Hurts," honest to God. I thought that was a Nazareth song. I know a lot about music, but sometimes I'm still that dumb kid who grew up in the 70's.
I spent about 3 weeks in that apartment listening to those albums over and over, and I thought ... this is what miracles are. That something so beautiful, angelic and sorrowful could whisper in the background of your life as your friends were all hip to it ... but sometimes the music waits until exactly when you need it. Then it runs you over like a Mack truck. The kind of Mack truck that heals you while you fall in love with it.
I had to put aside Gram for years, because the pain was too great. See, it was my best friend's Mom who had just died. I'd never been in a situation to have an aging parent, and I certainly had never been around to take an older woman to her (frustrating) doctor appointments, carry grocery bags upstairs and talk about how Nevada Barr is no Faulkner, but sometimes you can go the prettiest places in a 1.99 soft cover from Moe's Books in Berkeley
, when you can't afford to get on a plane. Or when you're dying, and you probably know that deep in your bones. I'd never watched someone I respected so much ... just waste away. Disappear.
I wish we'd talked about her music too, because that woman had some damn good records. (You bet a whole lot of Emmylou was in in there was well.) You never know someone it seems, until far too late. What would my life had been like if she'd hit play on "Love Hurts" back in the summer of 2003? Different, but in a way, I suppose this was better. I can't judge.