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The power of a (christmas) song

The holiday season brings so much excitement (especially when you have young kiddos) but also sorrow if you've lost a loved one. I've heard it countless times from others and have felt it myself plenty. And yet, "grief sneaks up on you" still catches me off guard.

I just had a conversation with a friend after Thanksgiving who, like me, lost her father. She couldn't figure out why she was feeling so emotional about the holiday until it dawned on her: "grief snuck up on me." This happens to me inevitably once a holiday too. I know you've heard it before too, but grief never goes away. It dulls a bit. I've gotten better at recognizing it and using it for good. To remember the good times. To share with those who are reading this & my husband and kids who never had the chance to meet my Dad. The quiet holiday chef, outdoor light decorator and lover of a freshly cut (by his hand saw) Christmas tree tied to the top of a minivan ;)

My sister sent me a Youtube link last week with a Christmas song my Dad loved: The Ten Dollar Christmas by Christopher Shaw. I hadn't heard it in over 12 years. When I clicked play, the song came back to me with such force it took my breath away. I could clearly remember my Dad's smile while we listened to it. His soft whistling to mimic the harmonica. How he made his voice extra deep at the parts he liked. How he explained the story behind the lyrics to us as kids. The "ping" sound he always made at the end of the song when a soft bell rings. All those little details I could see/hear as if I was sitting next to him. This made me equal parts sad and glad. Sad that I'll never listen to it with him again, but glad for the memories. Glad for technology. Glad for the other songs it made me think of that my Dad loved.

I'm personally not really a big music person. I haven't been to a concert as an adult. Live music at a bar and dancing isn't really my scene. But I loved listening with my Dad. He enjoyed making CD's for his brothers with old songs they listened to as teens. He found old photos of them and put them on the covers. He titled them "Bodge's Best." Bodge was his nickname (thanks to my uncles).

He also enjoyed the Porterfield Country Music Festival every June near Marinette, WI. It is literally a field and people bring campers, lawn chairs and coolers and listen to music. They had big names here and there and he even got to meet Johnny Cash one year because the Eagle Herald (the newspaper he worked for) got "press" passes. He loved "the man in black."

Some of the songs I remember (very random I know) my Dad loving:

Soak up the Sun : Sheryl Crow

Drift Away: John Henry Kurtz (and Uncle Kracker)

Jack and Diane: John Mellencamp

All Martina McBride, Dixie Chicks of the 90s, Shania Twain

Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings

Sweet Home Alabama: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lullaby: Shawn Mullins

And a million more I won't remember until I hear them and memories come flooding back...

This post wouldn't be complete without his other favorite Christmas song: Linus and Lucy :)

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