I have what some may call an overinflated idea of the power that music has in our lives. I often feel that I haven’t fully experienced something until I’ve associated that event with a “soundtrack”.
So after my little sister Kristin revealed recently that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer I began to think about music’s value to a person faced with such a challenge. Could I gather a few songs that might , just a little, inspire, provide support or encouragement or maybe distract, for three or four minutes from the daily grind of treatments, appointments and side effects.
I recognize the conceit of doing this. To assume I understand what it feels like to deal with such a diagnosis would be crazy. The shock, the fear, the uncertainty and anticipation of the upcoming battle and even the work of presenting a brave face to the world when the effort to do it is to much to bear is something I’ve been blessed not to have personally experienced.
On top of all of that, what if the music I pick is not even music she likes. So I decided this doesn’t have to mean anything more than this: Little Sis here’s a few songs that mean something to me and I hope they might mean a little something to you as you fight your fight.
“Swim” by Jack’s Mannequin is pretty direct. The lead singer wrote this while undergoing treatment for leukemia. Obviously he gets it.
This Tom Petty song is especially poignant. Stevie Nicks on backing vocals. This was recorded at his last performance.
“Waiting on a Sunny Day” was written by Bruce after 9/11. I choose to view it as an ultimately optimistic song. Today may not be sunny but “things are gonna be ok”.
One of the most powerful uses of music in my lifetime was Live Aid. A mostly unknown singer Bob Geldof organized a trans continental daylong concert from most of the top artists of that time. Bowie’s performance of this song was one of the highlights. The song has been co-opted more times than I can count but I believe there are heroes in every cancer center who are heroes “just for one day” , who get up the next day and say it again.
U2’s catalogue is overflowing with majestic inspirational music. This one in particular got me. “ The Lights if Home” to me means that when you are struggling, keep your eyes on home,” your loved ones, family and friends to help you get through.
Of course this song pretty much explains itself.
So there it is. Just a few songs for whatever that may be worth. Maybe they’ll give you a few minutes of distraction or a smile.
Your big bro