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Thursday 11 May 2023

La Tristesse Durera

At the end of May it will be eighteen month since Isaac died. I noticed recently that I've largely stopped noticing the days and dates- at first, every Tuesday was significant, each one marking the number of weeks since he died and the 30th of every month was loaded with importance. After the first anniversary of his death in November last year, the 30th of each month has been less marked for me. That, I suppose, is just the passing of time. Sometimes I think I've reached some sort of equilibrium with the loss, that in some way we are 'doing ok' and 'getting on with things' but it doesn't take much to be whacked without warning and plunged right back into the worst feelings of grief and loss. A couple of incidents recently have shown me just how close to the surface those feelings are and how easily they resurface. 

There are days where I think I've been ok but I realise I've been on the verge of tears all day, and there's a crushing feeling that overwhelms me as I set off to drive home. A few days ago, I had a day spent back in the pits of grief but able to be distracted by work/stuff but I think that just pushed it a bit further down the road, to be dealt with later on. Last weekend, there was an unexpected incident (I won't go into the details here) that triggered the absolute worst feelings again, leaving me surprised and a little frightened by the strength of the emotions that were dredged up. 

We all had a difficult time over the Easter holiday in April, feeling very out of sorts in different ways and at different times. At times, I can be fine and enjoy things- the AW60 weekend, the ACR gig, a few other social occasions, have been great and in many ways a break from the almost ever present, just below the surface sadness. 

At the end of last week an envelope dropped through the letterbox, addressed to Isaac. It contained his college certificates, details of the courses and units he'd done while at college in 2019/ 2020. Someone must have been emptying a filing cabinet and posting uncollected certificates dating back to pre- Covid. Arriving completely out of the blue, it threw us off balance a bit. 

On Saturday morning I pulled out my Manic Street Preachers compilation CD while pottering around in the kitchen and making breakfast. I think I wanted to play Repeat in honour of King Charles III. In the end I just put the disc in to the CD player and pressed play. Forever Delayed starts with a run of four songs- A Design For Life, Motorcycle Emptiness, If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next and La Tristesse Durera- that got to me in both sad and happy ways, the emotion laden, 90s guitar heroics of the Manics hitting all me in all the spots, and that mix of feelings that the Manics could pull off in song, elation and despair, often at the same time. This song did me in a bit, 'The sadness will never go/ Will never go away/ Baby it's here to stay'. 

La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh)

It made me love James Dean Bradfield's massively overblown guitar solo too, which I don't think has been the case before. The fifth song on Forever Delayed is You Love Us. By that point that was playing I was laughing at the absurdity of it all, James, Nicky, Richey and Sean's 1991 glam- punk howl of self- adoration giving me a lift exactly when I needed it. 


Anonymous said...

The Chemical brothers mix of La Tristesse... is one of the sings that properly switched me on to the fact that indie and dance work well together.
Lovely post Adam.

Ernie Goggins said...

Must have been really tough getting post for Isaac. On the other hand - and I appreciate this is much easier to say from a distance - maybe having his certificates will be a reminder of some of his achievements. Thinking of you.

Rol said...

And that's the power of music, right there. Sometimes it's all we have to keep us going. Thinking of you, as ever.

C said...

Another superbly written, beautifully honest post, your insights get me every time. And yeah, what a song. It's a funny thing with the Manics, I've found that the older I get the more I appreciate their songs. We were playing 'Generation Terrorists' the other night as an accompaniment to a game of Scrabble - I somehow doubt we would have been its intended audience in that scenario but it worked perfectly!

Swiss Adam said...

Swc- that remix is a banger. They put it on that free NME tape Xmas Dust Up which got played a lot in my car at the time.

Ernie- yes, exactly that too. Some of the units he gained were very much his skill set too.

Rol- it is indeed.

Nick- thank you.

C- I think Nicky Wire would very much enjoy you playing Scrabble with that album as the musical backdrop.

Martin said...

Adam, these posts are so honestly, movingly and, above all, well written... Have you thought about gathering them all together in one place, somewhere/how. They could be quite helpful, I'd imagine, to others dealing with the same thing. And as Rol says, that's the power of music for you. Take care.

Rickyotter said...

Can feel your pain Adam, it is the merest things that stop you in your tracks. I remember a few months after my mum died, I was out and about when I received a call from 'Mum' on my phone. I was literally frozen in time, confused and scared. It turns out that my Dad's landlines was in my phone as 'Mum' and instead of using his mobile as normal, he'd rung me from the landline. I can well imagine how you felt when Isaac's post dropped through your door. Much love to you all, take care

Swiss Adam said...

It's an idea Martin. Will give it some thought.

Ricky- Jeez, I can imagine, that would totally stop you in your tracks. So odd.

Zoebranka said...

Music often highlights my grief and also gives me moments to reflect on the incredible feelings of love for my father. This evening it was Agnes Obel - September Song. An instrumental roller coaster of emotion. Thank you again for sharing your journey Adam. Its the loneliness of grief it brings me a feeling of belonging. There is someone else in my darkness sharing memories of love. Xx