Posted on August 20, 2014
I have been reading writer Hannah Richell’s achingly beautiful blog
after one of her posts was republished in the Sydney Morning Herald last week.
Hannah’s husband Matt died in an accident recently. She has been writing a little about her grief, which is so raw and new and incomprehensible that it hurts to read it.
She speaks of having joined a tribe of people that she never knew existed before, those people whose lives have been fragmented by loss and grief. My heart cries out to her, and I understand how she is reaching for words to try and find her way in the dark. I wrote here http://sandhasnohome.com/?p=68 about how I looked immediately for words when my grief was new, that time outside of time.
Her latest post, lovingly reaching toward days of hope, mentions that the new Beck album Morning Phase was recommended to her by a friend, and that when she went to buy it on iTunes, she saw that it was already there, purchased by Matt. She (evidently being far more competent at these things than I) embedded the song Heart is a Drum http://hannahrichell.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/heart-is-a-drum/
Into her post, saying that it was ‘particularly calming’.
It reminded me of how anthemic the REM album Automatic for the People was for my brothers, sister and I, in the aftermath of my father and brother dying. The story of my older brother Jim is partly told here http://sandhasnohome.com/?p=55
along with an account of the accident. He was in Thailand on his honeymoon at the time of the drownings, and difficult to contact. His family decided to wait until he returned, some weeks later, to tell him what had happened.
His first birthday since we had known him was the month before,and I had given him the new REM album.
Soon after he returned, he listened to the album, and called to tell me that I had to listen to it. This, being 1993 was before iTunes, or youtube, so we had to gather together to listen. We did a lot of gathering together in those days, trying to find the sense in it, not yet realising what a pointless endeavour that was.
The internal album artwork featured a photo of Micheal Stipe with his head just above water, and the songs collected there spoke to us, as though carefully constructed just for this time and set of circumstances.
‘And what if there were two
Side by side in orbit
Around the fairest sun?’
‘I’m not sure all these people understand……’
I went to youtube this morning after reading Hannah’s post, and listened to those songs for a bit, and tears rose again, just for a moment, to travel back there, and to imagine the long journey that Hannah has regretfully embarked upon,
Time that is moved by little fidget wheels
Is not my time,the flood that does not flow
Kenneth Slessor Five Bells