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About Today

October 12, 2007

They started into a more mellow song to end the night with that I didn’t recognize. I tuned in to the lyrics and heard Matt Berninger sing, “You close your eyes and I just watch you.” Wow, I thought, that’s such a true and intense experience. Then I heard, “Hey are you awake? I ask you about today. How close am I to losing you.”
My mind instantly shot to a moment I pictured happening after hearing about it from Mom. The night after we called in hospice for Dad they were laying in bed together falling asleep. He turned to her and said, “I love you” and kissed her.
Soon his eyes were closed and we knew how close we were to losing him.

I suddenly felt completely alone in the large venue and that without forcing the feeling back I would break down. I focused on a white spotlight that was shining behind the band and into my eyes. I called up Dad, I felt him with me, and I felt my regrets, and I thought about him being at the concert, enjoying the band, how excited he’d be to hear about the concert and I wanted to tell him about it, I wanted to see him in front of me, I pictured him watching me from behind the spotlight, smiling, there for me in that moment of longing.

“You close your eyes and I just watch you.” We watched him for days as he died. I wanted more time with him, the night I came home after we called hospice I went into the room he was in, but there was company so I didn’t stay, and that was the last day I remember him being really lucid. I regret not staying, and as I stood in the packed concert hall feeling like I was alone I realized it is another manifestation of my desire to please, my need to make others happy, how much I want to make others happy. It is the same reason I haven’t been asking for what I need or even communicating fully what I want to. The company was so happy to be spending time with my awake and alert Dad, so I let them and in the moment it felt like the right thing to do, but also in that moment I wanted a lot of things and the easy decision was to walk out of the room and into my Brothers strong arms so I could sob.

I stood and stared at the light as the mellow music faded and the last song of the set came on, another one I didn’t know but I didn’t want to focus on it. I couldn’t shake the sadness, the deep longing for Dad. I just want him in my life, I wanted to see his face in front of me smiling, I wanted him bopping in the crowd to the music, I just want him to be near me again.
Then the band left and we clapped them back on the stage. I turned to Matt and told him how sad the song had made me, he gave me the universal look of “I’m sorry you’re sad.” What else could he do? I turned back around and bit back the tears. I felt my chin shudder, I’ve never felt that before.
They ended the show with a great song, one I love to belt out, one that makes me move even when I’m sitting at my desk at work. And I felt what it was to be both happy and sad and it felt okay. Like I could do it. I can let myself feel the deep sadness and not run away from it by pulling up other easier emotions, and at the same time I can be happy with something that is happening or stimulating me at the moment. It’s a step.

The lyrics of the song are below, and the show was great.

About Today
The National

Today you were far away
and I didn’t ask you why
What could I say
I was far away
You just walked away
and I just watched you
What could I say

How close am I to losing you

Tonight you just close your eyes
and I just watch you
slip away

How close am I to losing you

Hey, are you awake
Yeah I’m right here
Well can I ask you about today

How close am I to losing you
How close am I to losing
-Cherry Tree 2004

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