Sharing a grief narrative – how much is too much?

Hi, friends.

I hope this post finds you well. I know it’s been a while since I last posted, but I haven’t felt I had much to say. However, with a recording session in the pipeline, I have been thinking about how we share our stories, and where we draw the line.

One of the songs I intend to record at this future session is ‘The View From The Mountain’. Regular readers will need no introduction to the story behind the song, written two years after the death of my friend Kim from an eating disorder. The potential problem with this song lies in the fact that there is far more of a story attached to it than would ever be appropriate to share in the setting of a live performance.

As a musician and a writer, I see the story behind a song as paramount to the audience’s enjoyment. With this in mind, I have worked out a way of sharing the story behind ‘The View From The Mountain’ with the bare minimum of words, and the most minimal detail. I have to admit that this is primarily for my benefit, given that if I were to tell the story from start to finish, and then attempt to play the song, I would likely dissolve.

However, even with the very best of intentions, I feel that it will be impossible for me to go into that session without having given my friend an idea of the story behind the song. I need to lay the foundations at least, so that I can relax fully whilst performing, knowing that there is the possibility of emotions spilling forth.

In order for this to happen, I have written three versions of a letter which I will give him well in advance of the session. Yes, we could have a conversation about it, but on the other hand, I’m not sure I would want to subject him to over-information.

I play the song fairly regularly when playing live, as each performance is part of the act of forgiveness. I did not have the chance to say goodbye to Kim in the same way as I did with Chris. Coupled with the manner and timing of Kim’s death (I heard of her passing on the day I was due to go into the studio to record my tribute to Chris) this led to an irrational anger.It is my intention this time to lay all that to rest, and allow myself to form a new relationship with the song, and with Kim or the memory of her. Fondness feels a step too far, but the least I can do is think of the good.

Do you share stories of your online friends who have passed away with others? How do you decide what to share, and what to leave out? I’m curious, so if you’re inclined, feel free to leave a comment. 

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.
This entry was posted in Grief Loss and Bereavement and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Sharing a grief narrative – how much is too much?

  1. I find that others don’t understand how “empty” the loss of a virtual friend is. Literally, I feel like a space has been vacated. Something is lacking every day. What is lacking? My friend(s). I love(d) them as if they were right here in my “real” life. Wendy Williams, a TV and Radio Talk Show Host talks about people she adores, but has never met, as “friends in my head”. Virtual friends are friends in my head and in my heart. But, when it comes time to share my grief … I am stuck with vacant looks and rolling eyes.

    If there was someone who would listen, I think that I would try a brief version and then go further into the story, if they show interest. It hurts too much to see vacant looks or rolling eyes. It crushes my spirit … and I don’t need any more crushing.

    I think it is sad that people haven’t really stopped to understand “virtual friends”. I feel like an alien on this planet, many times, because I don’t understand why people don’t think or care about something other than themselves or a stupid TV show, etc. I play a lot of games and there is one that I’ve played since Beta and have really tried to promote the game and be a virtual member of their Community. We have lost members … Gamers … to breast cancer, car accidents … They are middle aged, old, and little girls and boys. They were my friends. They are my friends. But, I have no idea what they look like; never heard the the sound of their laugh; but I know their hearts.

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

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s