The week after Hudson died, the Hubs and I went for a drive. We needed to get out of the house, we wanted to be distracted, and as the Hubs put it, “I kind of hope some good country song that reminds me of Hudson will come on the radio.” As we drove through the wheat fields of Walla Walla in the summer sunshine, a few duds came on (“She Thinks my Tractor’s Sexy”, for instance) before Collin Raye’s “In this Life” started playing.
If it all falls apart
I will know deep in my heart
the only dream that mattered had come true…
in this life I was loved by you.
Well that one got me going. Like, right now, as I typed out those lyrics.
Some songs that you wouldn’t think would be sentimental really tug at our heartstrings. Like “The One that Got Away” by Jake Owen. Something about the lyric “She set my world on fire on the fourth of July…” gets me. And the chorus, “She was the one that got away, the one that wrecked my heart…” or even the bridge:
Every summer rolls around,
I’m looking over my shoulder
wishing I could see her face,
wishing I could hold her.
What was supposed to be a catchy ditty about long-lost summer love is, for the Hubs and I, a poignant anthem highlighting so many things we are missing. Every summer that rolls around for us, I’ll be remembering the days leading up to Hudson’s birth, all that anticipation on the 4th of July, and I will be wishing I could hold her.
There’s a lyric in Zac Brown Band’s newest song, “Goodbye in her eyes“, that never fails to get me choked up. These guys are true musicians, and I love to belt along with their songs, but when I get to this lyric in the bridge…
He’s gonna love the way you shine…
So did I.
…I have to sing through that throat-clenching warble that makes your voice go all pitchy and off-key, because I’m thinking of how Hudson is making Heaven shine, how bright she made our lives for those three days (and the nine months leading up to them), and how much that light is missing now.
There are some songs that just get me because they’re pretty and contemplative, like Thompson Square’s “We are Glass” and The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young”. And there are some songs that I immediately change the station for, like Carrie Underwood’s “All American Girl” and Tim McGraw’s “My Little Girl” and Trace Adkins “She Thinks We’re Just Fishin'”.
I don’t need to torture myself.
Last weekend, the Hubs and I went for another drive, this time through snow-kissed unmarked roads in the blustery Walla Walla hillsides. And on this fateful drive, an old Brad Paisley song came on, one I hadn’t heard in eternities. “He Didn’t Have to Be” – country music fans, you know where I’m heading with this one?
All of a sudden, oh, it seems so strange to me
How we’ve gone from “Something’s missin'” to a family.
I did my deep, slow, stave-off-the-tears breathing exercise as long as I could before blurting out, “Damn you, Brad Paisley!” The Hubs was startled, with reason.
“What, you haven’t heard that song before?”
“Not like this I haven’t.”
We’ve gone from “Something’s missin'” to a family, and back to “something’s missin'” so fast it doesn’t seem fair. More often than not now, I am used to the fact that we aren’t parents with a five month old, and that we have a while to wait before we get to be. But every once in a while, we’ll be driving along and some old country song will start playing and bring that reality front and center and make me curse at a country singer who, as far as I can tell, is a pretty nice guy.
After my outburst, the Hubs just reached over and silently held my hand. And you know what? Something is definitely missing, but we are still a family.
And my husband is twice the dad I had always dreamed he’d be.
How’s that for a song lyric, Brad?