Ripples, fire and rain- more music in grief

‘It’s a hand me down,
The thoughts are broken
Perhaps they’re better
Left unsung
I don’t know, don’t really care
Let there be songs, to fill the air.’

Ripple- Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter

(This track appears on The Grateful Dead’s 1970 album ‘American Beauty‘)

 This song has been going around my head lately for a couple of reasons- I’ve been sorting out the emails (haven’t done any more yet tonight, because I don’t know how much I’ll be able to do) and I’ve been thinking about what I actually write about my grief experience this time around – hence my highlighting the lines ‘It’s a hand me down, the thoughts are broken, perhaps they’re better left unsung.’

It’s such a difficult thing to communicate coherently, as anybody who’s actually reading this probably knows. I think that could be why I’ve turned to the music of others, as I’ve begun to highlight in my ‘Songs for the wounded soul’ series. James Taylor’s ‘Fire and Rain’ is a song that has double meaning, ’cause I’ve only recently been able to listen to it again after losing Kim. She asked whether I might be able to send chords to it, my first thought was that I didn’t know how to play it, my second that I didn’t want to be responsible for causing the kind of feelings in her that the song provoked in me.

Do you turn to the work of others to help you express yourself in your grief? What helps, and what doesn’t? Let’s have a chat in the comments. 

About Casey Bottono

I am in love with language. I write poetry and fiction in a wide variety of genres. Most recently, I have been shortlisted as a finalist in the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities' Pen2Paper contest.
This entry was posted in grief, happenings, loss, Music, online loss issues, online-loss, original-stuff and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Ripples, fire and rain- more music in grief

  1. alisha says:

    Hey Casey,
    Stumbled on your blog today while researching other online grief support communities. Wanted to say that we played “Ripple” at my Mom’s memorial service, and played it again as the father/daughter dance at my wedding 6 months later. great song, and great idea about using other’s art and music as a means to healing and growth.
    Thanks for sharing,

    • Casey B says:

      Thank you for commenting. It’s a perfect song for such a purpose. My thinking is “when you can’t put words to something yourself, somebody’s probably already said it better somewhere!” I seem to keep finding those songs that make an impression on me in that way. Hope it keeps happening, because they give me hope that somehow, this will pass. I really appreciate your sharing your story.

  2. Leo Rex says:

    You’ve been nominated for the Versitile blogger award. congrats 😀

  3. This is the first time I’ve heard this song, Casey. It’s so haunting.
    I’ve never know the deep grief of losing someone to death. However, I’ve had a lot of pain from broken relationships and I found that it helped talking to others. Thank you for sharing this special song.

    • Casey B says:

      Thanks, Corinne.

      It’s perfect for the situation…as is another Grateful Dead song called ‘Touch of Grey’, but I shall probably do a post about that one and how it’s helped closer to Easter and the dread fifth anniversary. (I don’t know why I described it as such, because I usually struggle with the anniversaries anyway.)

      With best wishes,


  4. Jessie says:

    I tend to turn to others a large portion of the time…I’m extroverted when dealing with distress unless I start falling into a depressive episode, in which case I isolate. I guess I’m introverted enough that I need some time alone, though.

    Casey, after the post you commented on, yesterday I went into work and found out that my coworker died at 5 months pregnant (I didn’t even know she was pregnant) of an abdominal aortic aneurism. For the most part I was leaning on others yesterday, both coworkers and I leaning on each other, and me calling my husband and a close friend for support. At the same time, there was some time that I just spent curled up in my chair in my office not wanting to move or to speak. I’m a therapist, which complicates a work loss more because we have clients that need to be taken care of as well as staff taking care of each other.

    I work a slightly offset schedule because of how passionately I hate mornings, so even though I’m on the US East Coast and it’s about quarter of 10, I’m just now getting ready to go in. We’ll see how today goes.

  5. Emma says:

    I definitely turn to the music of others when I’m trying to sort out my feelings. The kind of music I listen to depends on the mood I’m in. I found Rob Thomas’ “Diamonds” extremely relatable when I had my miscarriage last year. I felt it summed up how things were between my husband and I very well. It’s been hard finding someone/people who can relate to what I’ve been feeling over the past year and I’ve felt like it’s been easier to turn to music and the lyrics someone else has written than it is to try and talk to someone in person.

    ICLW #26

  6. marwil says:

    I do turn to music but sometimes it’s too painful to listen to the words. Photos and quotes or poems also works, depending on the mood. I guess it also will change as time passes and there will be another perspective of what has happened.

I love it when you share your thoughts- so feel free.

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