I was frozen, the proverbial deer in the headlights, when I watched my attorney trot away from the courtroom tossing a casual, "Good luck! You'll be fine!" over her shoulder.
The gavel had come down, and presto! I was single again after 33 years of marriage. In fact, I wasn't fine. I was petrified. OMG.
In my car, I stuffed a CD with my divorce tunes into the player. If nothing else, divorce is drama -- and nothing bolsters high drama like music. (I'm hearing a full orchestra play mournfully as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind swears, "As God is my witness, I will never be hungry again!")
So it was on the day I got my maiden name back.
Every significant life event has its music -- relationships ("our song"), birthdays, holidays. But what about those perplexing times when the sledding gets rough? Times like divorce, death, illness. Perhaps that's when we need music the most.
Here are my top five music pieces that supported me during that impossibly rocky year of the divorce. Each song or piece speaks to a different emotion. Sometimes it was revenge. Often loneliness. Intermittently, it was loud anger. And occasionally, joy.
But mostly, music was a release valve to blow off the steam that needed to escape. Without it, I would have been lost. Sometimes I blasted the songs so loudly, I couldn't hear myself think. I belted out the lyrics at the top of my lungs, drowning out the screaming demons of doubt.
Thus it was in my car, leaving the courthouse. My music choice on Divorce Day: Number 1, below.
In reverse order, here are my top five songs to survive divorce:
5. Eels: Hey Man (Now You're Really Livin')
I found these lyrics healing, somehow. I knew I wasn't alone in my feelings:
Do you know what it's like to fall on the floor
And cry your guts out 'til you got no more
Hey man now you're really living
Just saw the sun rise over the hill
Never used to give me much of a thrill
But hey man now I'm really living
4. Beethoven's 9th Symphony, 4th movement, "Ode to Joy." To be catapulted to a higher level of love and joy, this sweeping movement leaves you in tears of relief.
3. Janis Joplin: Me and My Bobby McGee
The mournful ballad of "what could have been" for my moments of "If only..."
One day up near Salinas, Lord, I let him slip away,
He's looking for that home and I hope he finds it,
But I'd trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday
To be holding Bobby's body next to mine.
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose,
Nothing, that's all that Bobby left me, yeah,
But feeling good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues,
Hey, feeling good was good enough for me, hmm hmm,
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.
2. From Chicago. "He Had It Comin'"
He had it coming, he had it coming
He only had himself to blame
If you'd have been there, if you'd have seen it
I betcha you would have done the same
1. The Rolling Stones: You Can't Always Get What You Want
God Bless Mic Jagger and The Band. Immortal words of wisdom that saved my life.
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need!
What's on your list? No matter what daunting life event you've faced, there was, no doubt, music that buoyed you up.
Scroll down to the comments section below and share your top tunes that fortified you. Who knows? You may save the soul of someone you've never met, just by your suggestion.
Let the music play on -- and feed our souls!
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