“Listen to the river sing sweet songs to rock my soul”


This tune pulling me, demanding attention, and playing it endlessly on my piano. Last night I learned that another old friend had died in his sleep the night I initially published this post. It was shocking news. We had been out of touch after his best friend, my high school sweetheart, had died unexpectedly in 2010 on New Year’s day.

The summer before my senior year as an undergraduate, we sparked a romance that flamed out when lifestyle differences became impossible for me to tolerate. I just disappeared with a brief note.

Years later, we tried again, but within a few months I remembered why it hadn’t worked before. I lost track until a chance circumstance reunited my two guys and me. The dynamic was awkward. Both men, both friends cared for me and helped me when I most needed understanding and support to leave an abusive marriage. I’ll never forget the kindness of this pair.

Both men had become morbidly obese. Both men avoided preventive medical care. After my first friend passed on, I encouraged the second one to go see his physician. You could see he had high blood pressure, certainly a serious cholesterol situation, and must have had heart disease. He was deeply depressed and experienced panic attacks, but would not seek support, which is how it goes when your undergraduate degree is in psychology.

We planned a memorial for our friend, and it gave us a way to process our grief. But it sent my surviving friend into a terrible depression, and he became dark and menacing. I felt unsafe. My BFF had come for the service, over which I presided. I felt threatened, and my girlfriend  (my bestie, who was dead three years later after a terrible battle with melanoma) looked at me and said we needed to get out of his house, so at 2:00 a.m. we packed the car and left without saying goodbye. That was the last time I talked to him.

A month ago, he posted a comment on this blog, suggesting we should try writing songs again. I ignored the request. This was not what I wanted. I was not going for a third try.

I am sorry that this man leaves behind two young adult children, a mother and father, a brother and nieces and nephews. He leaves behind friends, some nice guitars, and some beautiful songs and recordings of his pretty, soulful voice with it’s fluttery vibrato.

Sleep peacefully, my friend.

2 thoughts on “Brokedown Palace

  1. Very sad. That is a special song for me too … May our loved ones who have passed on find Peace, and may we find peace and joy again here in this life.

  2. Thank you for your reply. I wonder sometimes about the way music helps us find the intuitive in our lives. It’s like a compass when we pay attention Interesting as well that this song began life at an almost snappy tempo, and has, over the years, become something sung with reverence. We are blessed to find peace in our music. ❤

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