We drove back from Saskatoon today – 18 hours of driving across Western Canada – the end run of our trip to my nephew’s funeral. Matt was 24 and died in a car accident, rolling his truck on the return home from work in northern Alberta. Needless to say the funeral was wrenching. For a close family and community to lose a son, brother, and friend of just 24 years in a such sudden and tragic fashion is both terrible to behold and awesome to be part of.
On our return trip we were listening to some tunes and one song stood out so much that I have to post it here and dedicate it to Matthew’s memory. One of our favorite albums from recent times is the Decemberist’s The King Is Dead. Our daughter Erin turned us on to it last year and we quickly included it in our go-to list of favorite albums. The song that stood out for me today was Don’t Carry It All, which is the first song on the album. The song is principally about community – that there are burdens neighbours can and should help each other carry – but also carries an extremely positive message of loss and renewal using the metaphor of nature. It seems to me entirely appropriate for the situation Matt’s family and friends have just gone through.
By the way, I’m adding this song to my own Death List…
I post some of the relevant lyrics here and of course the youtube embed:
Buried wreath of trillium and ivy
Laid upon the body of the boy
Lazy will the long come from it’s hiding
Return his quiet certitude to the soil
So raise a glass to turnings of the season
And watch it as it arcs towards the sun
And you must bear your neighbor’s burden within reason
And your labors will be borne when all is done
And nobody, nobody knows
Let the yoke fall from our shoulders
Don’t carry it all don’t carry it all
We are all our hands in holders
Beneath this bold and brilliant sun
This I swear to all
Colin Meloy – The Decemberists
Matt, I wish I had known ye better….