Music video of the week: Mike & the Mechanics – The Living Years

“I wasn’t there that morning when my father passed away.” For me, this is the most haunting line in a song of haunting images. Also for me, the words are true. I was about 10 hours away when my dad’s heart stopped without warning. He was getting some clothes together for my mother who was in a hospital two hours away preparing for her first chemotherapy treatment. Her cancer was likewise sudden and she was getting her treatment as an inpatient since it was to be quite taxing. He went to the emergency room with chest pains and did not make it all the way in the door. One of my friends from high school was a nurse on duty and called to tell me what had happened. I then had to call my mother to explain to her that she could not start her treatment. She needed to attend a funeral instead.

This song brings all of that back to me and more. The pain, ambivalence, and eventual resolution of that season 25 years ago center me in a way that few other experiences ever have. Staying in theme, I’d like to believe my children are the better for it. May whatever feelings this art brings up in you work toward better focus on what you are here to do.

3 thoughts on “Music video of the week: Mike & the Mechanics – The Living Years”

  1. Lou – Thanks for sharing that. Those are precious moments of connection. I only have a handful of recollections like that with my father but as time goes on they begin to overshadow the more numerous negative ones.

  2. Thanks for the link to The Living Years. I also believe it’s one of the most profound songs ever written.

    The song came out just two years before my own father died. Thankfully, we had several months warning that his end was near and I was able to travel home and spend time with him. The message of that song kept me at his bedside waiting for a private moment when he was lucid. My mother pretty much refused to leave his bedside and I began to despair of ever having that private moment. Finally, she stepped out for a cup of coffee and it was my dad who spoke first. He let me know that he loved me whether I was gay or straight and that he was proud of producing such a fine son! I, in turn, got to tell him how much I loved and respected him.

    That memory will always be tied to “The Living Years”; thanks for bringing it to the forefront once again.

  3. Dr. Throckmorton – thanks for sharing this story. Along with the song, it did touch me and makes me think about those I need to bless and touch.

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