For some reason, a couple of days ago I decided I wanted to look up one of the artists I remember my parents would play a lot when I was a kid. So I searched for Roberto Carlos on Spotify, and found a song I had completely forgotten but that instantly came back to me and hit me like a punch to the soul.
I can only imagine this song was written from personal experience of seeing his father grow old. It’s just too specific not to be personal. I can picture the slow steps of his dad, and I know too well how it feels to see that from the point of view of a son. It’s funny how when my dad would play this song, back when I was a kid, I’m sure he never thought that one day I’d completely associate it with him. He probably thought nothing of it. He wasn’t lucky enough to have a good father, like I did. The subconscious connection I keep finding with my father through music was likely not intentional on his part at all. Far from it, I imagine.
It’s been 5 years since my dad passed away and there’s still moments, like rediscovering this song, that make me feel like I’m a 12 year old orphan. I’ve said before that I never feared my own mortality until my first daughter was born, and it’s directly tied to how I felt when he passed and I was 36. On top of all that, I imagine how he would have loved his granddaughters. This song, the fact that he played it when I was a kid and that has a such a strong sense memory of Sunday mornings for me, all those ideas come together for me in such a powerful way.
I remember when my dad passed, someone who had recently lost her husband told me we were members of a club, and that it sucked to be in it, but that we understood. Well, losing a parent, no matter how old you may be, is a different club. It’s one where adulthood and childhood dance in a whirlwind of emotion and you aren’t sure how old you are sometimes. And being a parent just adds a layer of impending sadness and dread. For some, I’m sure, the remedy is trying too hard to make an impact on their kids. For others it’s probably trying to insure financial stability for them at any cost. For an exclusive few, it’s about trying to change the world itself for the benefit of their children. For most, it’s a combination of all of these. But I hope that for all of us, it’s about truly being there for our kids in the mundane moments. In the highs and lows. In the in between, boring times. In every moment just being. Sharing what we love and who we are with them. It isn’t selfish for us to try to instill memories of who we are in our children. I do it because no matter how many memories I have of my father, I always wish I had more. Luckily, the fact that I could rediscover this song after so many years means that I do have more.