Songwriting, grief and the strangeness of time

Hi, friends.

I hope this post finds you well. I have written before (extensively, I think) on the oddities of time in grief. The concept of time somehow being more malleable is nothing new to me, but every so often I am surprised by it anew.

Whilst searching for a first draft of a song in my notebooks today, I was taken aback to discover that I’d actually written said song on the 31st of July, 2011. If pressed, I would have said the song was a lot older…dating back to a time when I didn’t write so much about drinking.

That being said, there’s a focus on it in that song, so I shouldn’t be so surprised. However…2011 was not necessarily the best year, so I was amazed to realise that in the midst of that pain (losing Kim) I was able to write a song like that.

It has come to be my most popular song when I play live…so that is a consolation in comparison to the fact that neither Chris nor Kim got to hear it. (I sometimes wonder what they’d think of my songs, considering the level of alcohol consumption – although it somewhat goes with the territory in terms of country music.)

Earlier this week, I played the song that I wrote for Chris in 2009 live at a local venue. It felt good to play it again, as I don’t usually do so. In my mind, none of the songs I have written so far could have existed without the part Chris played in my life, and the part that Kim later played…although the songs I wrote for Kim were a little less tender, perhaps. I still have yet to write what I would really call a tribute to her in song.

Perhaps I will…but even if I don’t, it doesn’t matter. I think they both know how much I value their presence in my life, even if I can’t always articulate it. Granted, it has been difficult at times because of the manner of Kim’s passing in particular. There was a lot more to forgive, and a lot less inclination to do it, if I am honest.

Wishing you peace and strength on your journeys,



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.
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One Response to Songwriting, grief and the strangeness of time

  1. Vic Lewis says:

    They say time’s a great healer….they say time brings distance, objectivity and focus…they say time cures all things. THEY say a lot, 99.99% of which is just…..rubbish, passed on by people who’ve read it somewhere and have no concept of loss. All time can do is diminish the pain of losing a loved one, and when you HAVE lost the love of your life, time drags its heels like…well I don’t know a valid comparison. The last 21 months have flown past – where did 2012 and 2013 go? – and yet dragged at the same time. There isn’t a single minute of a single day in all that time I haven’t thought about Marilyn, and time seems to exarcerbate my loss, not diminish it. 21 months and I still find it hard to believe she’s not here, I still keep expecting to hear her voice when I wake up in the morning.

    Thank you though, Casey, for your posts….you do remind me I’m not alone, and that grief and loss are things we all deal with in different ways. I’m still not coping with my own personal loss too well….every time I think things are getting just a little bit better, life seems to turn on me and kick me in the head, or more often in the heart.

    I’m slowly getting back to playing guitar regularly again, I’ve even managed to write a few songs for ths SSG this year (SSG year starts around the first week of November…where have you been for the last couple of years? just a gentle reminder…) – 5 altogether in 12 weeks, which is more than I managed all last SSG year……

    FAWM helped a lot last year… me back into writing. Thanks for pointing me there, and for your help and encouragement. I’ll try again this year, and this time I’ll try for “upbeat” rather than songs about Marilyn. I know 99% of my SSG songs have been written about or for Marilyn…. and I’ll probably call on those memories of her for inspiration over and over again.

    They – “THEY again!” – say, “you have to move on.” Maybe I’m not quite ready to move on yet, but I think I’m slowly coming out of the depths of darkness and back into the light – that’s actually a line from a song I wrote about 15 years ago for Marilyn! – and starting to live for today rather than yesterday. It’s still hard, but at least I have a loving daughter who’s a huge help and a close family who share the loss.

    I’ve said it every year for the past god-knows-how-long – but 2014 can only get better, right? Time to look forward instead of back. Well, maybe that’s not strictly accurate – I’ll always treasure the memories of the good times, and even the not-so-good times weren’t that bad in comparison with the last 21 months – but I’m getting a little tired of being pitied and being – it’s hard to put this into words, but I’ll try – carried along by the undertow rather than swimming with the current – or even fighting against the tide, which I used to do fairly well….

    Anyway, Casey, thanks again for your posts…they’ve been a big help. Carry on doing what you’re doing, have a great 2014, and I’ll see you in FAWM – or maybe even the SSG? (BTW, I think David Hodge is getting fed up with setting the assignments – he doesn’t seem to have an awful lot of time to spare. I may just volunteer my services again….could do with a weekly reality check, and something to focus the real world. In fact, I think I’ll PM him now…no time like the present, is there?)

    Bless you, and keep on rockin’…..

    🙂 🙂 🙂


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