When Trauma Comes to Visit (Write a New Song)


Right after Eli was born and all the trauma, a number of people advised me (wisely) not to fight grief. To let the waves come, knock me down, pull me under, pulverize me. To feel it all as it happens. It’ll get better with time.

That was true.

But about a week before Eli’s 5th birthday last month, the mountain crumbled on me standing in the valley and I was buried in a landslide unlike any I’d previously felt. In five years, I hadn’t gone that deep into the grief.

I couldn’t carry on a simple conversation without losing my train of thought.

When I tried having conversations about absolutely nothing (the weather!), I left utterly exhausted and feeling like I didn’t know how to get home.

Something about the days – Eli’s birthday > Saturday > Mother’s Day – all happening in the same succession as they did when he was born shot me in the heart.

But that Wednesday night, I sat down at my kitchen table, picked up a guitar, and started strumming.

I was so tired. I could barely keep my eyes open. But like every great song I’ve ever written (there are, like, two others), the words and melody fell out like sickness. Like toxins flushing.

And I cried, and cried, and cried.

I didn’t feel better afterward, but it was good to have names and language for the ghosts that have been gathering and came to haunt me that week.

Maybe you’ve experienced something traumatic, and you know what it feels like to be railroaded by demons that rise from the grave to terrorize you mercilessly.

Maybe you know what it’s to lose the exact details of the memories – to work hard, even, to flush them from your mind – only for your flesh and bones and muscles to tell the story your mind wills to forget.

Maybe this song speaks your language too.

I don’t know.

But if that’s you…don’t be afraid to feel it all, to be beaten by it all, to die again.

Resurrection happens over and over and over, too.

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“Five”
(c) 2016 Amalia Musica (SESAC)

A needle and knife
All my blood on your hands
What a way to take a life
And save a wife

Did you hear me cry
When you cut me?
Did you even try?
Did you see me at all
In the bed where I didn’t die

Oh five
It’s been five long years
Oh And I still feel it all right here

And for all I don’t remember
Oh this flesh cannot forget
So I feel it all
And I live it all
And I die
All over again
Oh five

And baby, I’m mostly alright
I grieved what I could grieve
To the rest I said goodbye

But it rises from the trenches
It just comes up from the grave
And For all I try,
For all my might
It just won’t go away

Oh five
It’s been five long years
Oh And I still feel it all right here

And for all I don’t remember
Oh this flesh cannot forget
So I feel it all
And I live it all
And I die
All over again
Oh five

Oh five
I’ll be fine
Oh five
I’m alright
Oh five
I survived
So I must be fine