"I Shall Not Walk Alone" was a song I first encountered on Lost, and it instantly connected with me more than ten years ago. And yet, as my mother progressively and quite literally lost the ability to walk on her own, it took on new resonance.
"Sad Caper" was one of those Hootie and the Blowfish songs that helped me to see the band as something other than a musical fad, which was what it was twenty years ago. I knew these guys had a lot more to say. "Control has left me / and I can't feel another thing / so let me hold you down," is actually repeated at the start of another track from their Fairweather Johnson album, and again, I could not possibly have scripted a more appropriate sentiment in watching my mother deteriorate.
"Exodus," also sung by Darius Rucker, is perhaps the most personal of the bunch. I moved back home a year and a half ago in part to help my mother, and it became a special kind of privilege to help her as she struggled, because there were of course moments when the emotional turmoil was greater than the physical one, and she needed someone to support her in that way.
And now that she has passed away, even the grieving process is made easier by remembering these songs. I had one more privilege during this time, and it was delivering the eulogy at her funeral, and I chose to use that opportunity to spotlight how important music was in her life. That's why I posted the last batch of videos, all of which (plus more) I referenced in the eulogy. It made for a mostly lighthearted moment in the midst of a sad one, and I think that's another of music's great abilities. It can take you anywhere. And that's what my mother meant to me.