The Farr Side: Music has the power to heal
Music has the power to move you. It can make you happy or sad, energized or relaxed. It can take you places you’ve seen or places you long to be. It can heal. The feelings conjured are nothing short of amazing.
My life has been a rollercoaster of emotions since my mother passed away. I’ve found myself kind of lost, almost afraid to let my feelings show. Losing a parent is one of the hardest things to endure. I’ve turned to music as a coping mechanism, a way to find solace. For me, it was going back to a time when I didn’t have a care in the world and things were much happier: The 1980s.
Just over a month ago I happened to write about my ’80s addiction in this column. It was a safe topic, considering my world had been shattered over losing my mom. The words came easy and the column had come from the heart. I submitted it and didn’t think much about it. I forgot it possibly could be published in some new markets, too.
After it printed, I began receiving emails, as I often do. This time, they seemed a bit different. What I thought was a quick-fix column turned into something more. It was well-received. I felt compelled to reply to a few of the emails, including one from a reader in Columbus, Ohio, who had read my column and was able to read between the lines. How do I know this? Because he recently had gone through a similar situation and sensed it in my words. He, too, harkened to a time when he felt the most secure in life.
A simple email to me about understanding my love for the ’80s has led to a friendship. We’ve been able to help each other find healing while also talking about the music we admire. I’m so grateful. This summer we plan to meet and enjoy a couple of concerts, too. An ’80s-related show is in the plans, too: Daryl Hall and John Oates. I can’t wait!
Last Saturday was April 14, a date that stirs up difficult memories. It marked the 24th anniversary of the day I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. What’s usually a challenging day for me was different this time. Some friends of mine, Linda and Jim, had loaned me some special CDs after reading about my love for the music I enjoyed while growing up. These CDs were from the Rick Dees weekly top 40 in 1994.
I was lying on my bed listening to Dees count down the songs, when all of a sudden, I recalled doing the same thing, some 24 years earlier. The only difference: Back then, I could hardly move and was quite ill. My mom used to turn on my stereo and let me lie there all night to hear the countdown, because it was the only enjoyment I could experience. As I listened to the countdown last weekend, I was able to anticipate almost the entire Top 10, since I had originally heard it 24 years earlier. The memories that surfaced were quite vivid.
Back then, life seemed unfair. I was unsure of what the future had in store, or if I even had a future at all. But hearing that countdown made me realize something truly incredible. I may have been extremely weak and sick then, but I’m not now. I have those songs now to show how strong I really am, because I know where I’ve been.
— David T. Farr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can find The Farr Side on Facebook.