..For an entirely different reason than first intended. And now it makes sense.
Usually I don’t tell many personal stories. I’m just not one of those people whose facebook feed shows a bunch of photos of my latest meals or family, or personal posts about everyday life. But I want to share something that happened that is personal, this one time.
So one of my oldest and dearest friends died recently…I am still grieving; he was such a prevalent person in my life that it’s hard to accept that I can’t simply pick up the phone and hear his laughter. He loved my music ever since I wrote crappy songs in my pre-adolescent phase, banging away on my guitar with surely cringe-worthy lyrics. Anyway, he loved them all.
So, it had been just a few days since we last talked – and suddenly he called me as the emergency crew prepared him for airlift to a hospital. He was already on a ventilator, so his voice sounded kind of robotic as he said that he was dying, and I needed to fly there quickly to say goodbye. I’m happy that our last words to each other were, “I love you.”
I can’t even describe what it’s like to lose someone who’s been more than a brother for a lifetime – but for those of you who’ve lost a loved one, you already know.
But let me back up a minute.
A few months before his departure from Earth, we shared an intense, beautiful shamanic altered-state journey together, and some of the songs that Brian and I have created together served as the sound template to create set and setting. My friend, Brian and I shared 10 hours in a magickal, intense journey.
None of us had an inkling that my friend’s life would be over in such a short time.
The most powerful moments were during repeated playing of “Arriving“. He wanted to hear it over and over, and the song just made the experience even most profound. It was one of those times where you laugh and weep for happiness and shared communion… and se we did laugh, and cry, and then sometimes we just looked at each other in stunned amazement. Afterward, we agreed that it was among the top few most intense and amazing experiences of our lives. Anyway, the whole journey just blossomed from that particular song.
And that makes sense, because “Arriving” was written and recorded in a very spacy multi-textural way for this exact usage.
Now suddenly, my dear friend/brother was dying, and we played the song for him on headphones. His eyes lit up and a smile touched his lips as he listened. (He couldn’t speak, due to a tracheotomy). And listening, I realized that the lyrics, which I wrote as a metaphorical ego-death journey, were also perfect for this, his last Earth journey of physical death.
I was so overwhelmed and grateful to be able to contribute to his transition to his next adventure…while also being brokenhearted to lose him. So gratitude and sorrow just stayed there, and sat silently side-by-side with me.
Later on, sitting at his bedside, I just sang it to him acapella as he slipped back into a coma. It was so moving singing the Sanskrit portion to him, I can’t begin to express what that was like. It meant more to me than doing shows in front of gigantic crowds. This was real. This had meaning. You know, at shows everybody’s just cheering for whatever happens… and usually they won’t even remember you later. Well this wasn’t like that. It was beautiful.
And then, mercifully, my dear friend/brother died. I felt his energy release. And that night he appeared in a dream. He looked about 30 years old, healthy, and started right in making me laugh like he always did. We laughed so hard that my laughter actually woke me up. And I felt like he had let me know all was well. It brought me joy. Strangely, the joy didn’t remove the grief, but changed it’s character a bit.
Today I miss him, but I’m so grateful for the years we spent together, and for that magickal journey, and for the opportunity to share so much music – and especially that song – with him.
And I’m so grateful that ‘Arriving” was a part of helping him move on. It made me want to write more songs that help in people’s final transition. Maybe we’ll do that.