It’s Hard For Me To Say I’m Sorry

If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. Check out this fantastic group of ladies,  giving insight on various topics.  After reading my post, click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Denise asked us to write about a time music touched our very souls.

I’ve been surrounded by music lovers for most of my life. My father loves to tell the story of a young Sara bopping to “Video Killed the Radio Star” when it first aired on MTV. I got my 80’s music fix from him. My mother loved the 80’s, too, although she’d often throw in a little 60’s or 70’s, dancing a little shimmy while we listened to Heart or Led Zeppelin. I listened to my first Pearl Jam song while visiting my favorite aunt, and my grandparents were all about the oldies but goodies, with a little old school country sprinkled in.

Music has propelled me through so much in my life, a staple. I remember listening to angsty angry songs while dealing with break-ups, or blissfully enjoying romantic tunes while falling in love, with everything in between. I’m one of those types who enjoys the lyrics the most. I have to know what the meaning behind the music is, the purpose. The reason. While music can often be a roller coaster of emotions tangled up within the lyrics, no song has ever hit me harder than “Hard to Say I’m Sorry/Get Away”, by Chicago.

I was just a child when I first heard it. I can still remember lying on the floor, in front of the big music player, the kind that had the record player on the very top, duel tape players and a radio underneath. It was towering over me, long glass doors holding a plethora of records and tapes. I could see my reflection when I’d lift my head up, peering in, looking at my somewhat distorted facial features.

The radio was on. I don’t know where my mother was. My father had moved out. I was a statistic, another kid in the divorce camp. That familiar piano intro began to play, and soon Peter Cetera’s voice took over, smooth and melodic.

I began to cry.

I still can’t pinpoint why this song made me cry. Whenever I try to focus on the reason, I’m flooded with bits and pieces of jagged memories from my youth. I have a feeling it centered around the divorce. Even at the age of six, I was listening to the lyrics. I understood that Peter was singing about a broken couple, and I’m sure I wanted nothing more than to have my broken parents back together again.

Wow. Even while writing this, I’m teary-eyed.

Whenever I’d hear this song, no matter where, I’d cry. It was a Pavlovian response. Usually by the first chorus, I was full on sobbing. My mother didn’t know how to deal with me. I think I can recall a time I visited my father, and he’d try to make me laugh and tickle me when the song was playing in the background, to get me to cheer up. I can remember laughing and crying all at the same time. By the time “Get Away” would start up (the song that immediately follows “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”) I was done. There were no more tears and I could carry on with my childhood like a normal kid.

I don’t remember when the crying subsided for good. Avoiding the song helped. When I’d hear the familiar tune, I’d change the station. I have a Chicago CD somewhere with all the greatest hits on it, but I never play that particular song. I’m sure I would do all right, but just thinking about it grabs me in a way no other song can. It’s like an old wound I’m rubbing salt into, little by little. A long-lost owie on my soul.






4 thoughts on “It’s Hard For Me To Say I’m Sorry”

  1. So funny — that is actually a happy song for me. It reminds me of being young and having no responsibilities and just enough freedom to start doing things alone with friends. I COMPLETELY understand how a song can have such weight — even so many years later. Great post, friend. 🙂

  2. I remember in high school we would sit in Brian’s VW Bug and sing Green Day, Offspring or Beastie Boys and you would always know all the words. All of them…hahahahaha. Those were some good times.

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