We Are Not Expired Concert Tickets…

Hi,

Have you ever thought about what you miss when you have concert tickets that you misplace and they’ve expired before you find them? That feeling of disappointment? That feeling of utter disbelief? You think to yourself “how could I have lost these?” I had seats front and center to see my favorite artist and I blew it! This is the train of thought I have been riding on today, and I have to get this out of me. I used to love to go to concerts with my oldest daughter and we saw some fabulous shows over 20 or so years before her dad and I became the expired concert tickets that she threw away. I’ve kept ticket stubs and programs and pictures of a life that no longer exists and the memories of good times with her are held on to by choice. I try very hard to let go of the anger and disbelief of the loss we’ve experienced since being ripped up and tossed to the wind without care; I fail. There are still days when I think of a Kid Rock concert, seeing Garth Brooks, Papa Roach or whomever, and I scream my pain out in the car…

Life is not a concert, or a play, or a production for anyone to make light of, nor is it an invitation to sit in the front row and clap your hands when something happens to someone that causes pain. I am not a performer, nor is my husband. We are two people that created two lives together out of love and we are broken. Better to be broken together than to be acting for the sake of acting. We have been broken, crushed and rebuilt. Through strength, determination and sheer will we have picked up as many shredded pieces of torn concert tickets and taped them back together as best we can to try and live. What our oldest child stole from us 15 months ago was never real in the first place, but we didn’t know it until now. Our daughter never loved us, and we know that to be true now. Why did it take us losing her to realize that we never mattered to her? I can’t answer that except to say that we loved her so much that we denied seeing what was right in front of us. We. Loved. Her.

Going to a concert is not like real life, but it is a place where you can lose yourself for a little bit of time and pretend that your life is better in a darkened arena than it ever is, or could be, at home. I think back to all the times I would get tickets for us and maybe whatever guy she was dating to go escape real life for a few hours. How I fooled myself into thinking she wanted to be with me, she just wanted to use me. The last Kid Rock concert we attended together was a disaster for me, and I will never forget the feelings of angst I experienced the day after when I left her behind and drove the 225 miles back home without her because she refused to get out of bed. I knew then that the “bonding” I thought we shared was bullshit, it wasn’t bonding at all. She actually bought those tickets and we had so much fun at the show. I hold on to that now, and leave the dark memories behind me. I don’t listen to KR any more, I prefer a different drummer so to speak.

I still love going to concerts, though I have less desire to attend a rock concert or a LOUD concert. I also choose to attend with a more appreciative partner. Not like I have much of a choice on that though. When you accept that you are nothing more than fluff, dirt or invisible to someone, I believe we have a tendency to do one of two things. We either become fluff, dirt or invisible, or we become someone who stands up and digs down deep to recover their self-worth. I have spent the better part of the past 15 months trying to dig down deep to be able to stand on my own again and be as whole as possible. I will never be whole as a mother again, how can I be when 50% of my heart stopped beating last year? I can, however, stand up and let the other 50% of my heart keep beating to a different kind of music. My younger daughter brings music and joy all her own to my life and I am ever grateful. Through all the loss, all the tears, all the self-recrimination, here stands a woman that holds new and up to date concert tickets for events yet to come. I don’t tell her near enough how much she means to me, but I think she knows. She too has suffered so much in losing her sister, and I am proud of how determined she is to make a happy, safe and fun life for her own children.

I feel like the music of life can at times be like a crazy Grateful Dead concert. Or quiet and stately like seeing Jim Brickman. When you see Jim Brickman, you leave his concerts feeling blessed, relaxed and appreciative of what music can do for your spirit. When we first lost our daughter, I could barely stand to hear Elton John’s “This Is Your Song.” My husband danced with our daughter to this song at her 3rd wedding and it was beautiful to watch him hold our creation in his arms. Now I can seek the song out and not cry. I can listen to The Zac Brown Band’s song “Colder Weather” and not ball my eyes out. I can seek the memory of a New Year’s Eve concert with ZBB in Atlanta a few years ago and let the joy of that night (what a friggin’ long drive home!) sustain me through my dark moments…

I miss the blonde-headed, blue-eyed girl that we so wanted to have with all of my heart. I am saddened by the tremendous sense of loss and injustice I feel. I am at times beyond frustrated that my beloved husband stares off into nothingness with the sheen of unshed tears in his eyes. I feel anger rise like bile when I think how easy it had to have been for her to just throw us away like those expired concert tickets she found in a drawer somewhere. I am forever and irrevocably changed by what has happened to us, but not so much that I want to hide anymore. I want to tell my story and let other parents know that they too can survive the loss of their own flesh and blood, they just have to walk through the pain. The anger. The disbelief. The confusion. It may seem like just noise in the first few months following the loss, but I promise you will hear a beautiful melody, a simple harmony, a verse that opens the door to a heart that is different, but healing. I have learned much about myself over these past months, and the lesson most valued to me? I matter. To myself, to my husband, our daughter, our grandchildren, my friends. The list goes on.

Does the music sound the same after such loss as we have experienced? No. Think about the significance music has played in your life… What does your soundtrack sound like? Mine is full of variation. From the Bee Gees in my youth to Jim Brickman in my later life, and all that’s in between, I keep turning up the volume and listening to the words. I seek comfort through music and when I hit rock bottom in my grief, I listen for the positive messages I can find by listening to Casting Crowns, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, and many others. Our youngest daughter has introduced me to Andy Grammar, I love him! What about Bruno Mars, Charlie Puth, Lady Gaga? Find your inspiration to heal through any means you can, and let the music lift you up. I have tickets that will get us in to see Jim Brickman in December, and I am looking forward to enjoying myself. My husband will be seeing him for the first time, and I am excited to share my love of JB music with him in a live setting… 

I know this has been a lengthy post, I’m in a writing mood tonight and I want to share hope with those of you that need to know it does exist. When an adult child decides that we aren’t good enough for them anymore, that is on them, not on us as parents. We lost our only daughter completely last year, and we can accept that now. We have found peace even though we don’t understand. We seek joy even when it seems impossible to find. We listen to the music of our lives and pray for others experiencing senseless loss. I pray that you all know that you are not alone, not ever, and there is someone somewhere that believes in you. You deserve to heal, you deserve to be happy, and you deserve a life filled with concerts that make you want to dance with abandon and freedom!!!

macro photo of piano keys
Photo by Fernando Arcos on Pexels.com

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