so the fish said...
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Don't worry, I don't know what I'm talking about either

I think I've mentioned this before, so please excuse the repeat. On Jeff Buckley's album Grace there is a recording of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" that is one of my favorite songs ever. I have on multiple occasions just sat with that song on repeat for hours at a time. At the very beginning of the track there is a single breath, and at times it has seemed very important to me to determine whether that breath was the sound of someone inhaling or the sound of someone exhaling. I have never reached a definitive conclusion, and my leaning at any given time likely has more to do with my state of mind than with any clues in the recording.

My rather obscure point is that yesterday a lot of you shared with me a bit about the shapes of your own grief and walked me around the edges of your losses to show me something about their size and nature, and it gave me the same feeling as I get from that single breath at the beginning of "Hallelujah." I wanted to know whether you were inhaling or exhaling so that I could do it with you.

I didn't respond to most of those comments, because I didn't know what to say, and often I think there's just flat nothing in the universe that is possible to say on the topic of grief, of death, of love, of loss. But I wanted to thank you, for that, for coming here, for sharing the funny and ridiculous and painful and debilitating bits of your lives with me. And I wanted to say that I am trying to take that breath with you.

Comments (26)

that last sentence is beautiful. thank you.

doesn't matter in or out. just. keep. breathing.

Just wanted to say that I share your sentiments. When there are no words to say, all you can do is breathe.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

I just had to stop by and agree with the whole damn post. And now go listen to that song again.

(Odd that I just got in touch yesterday with the person that introduced that album to me 12 years ago...)

RE: "Hallelujah" my opinion...definite exhale. Never a question in my mind.

In many ways it's the same. Just breath. Life. Goodness. Hugs!!

Wow, you just made me cry. Of course I love that song, and that version of Hallelujah in particular myself. When I get home tonight I'll have to play it to listen for the breath, because I have no idea if it is an inhale or an exhale.

Yes, just breathe. Sometimes that's all we can do.

I love that song too and posted about it a week or two ago.

I don't know your album though. I have Cohen himself, K D Lang, and Rufus Wainwright (all on Rhapsody which is where I listen to almost everything). If that's not enough, I drag out the Shrek dvd.



I didn't comment yesterday, because I just didn't know what to say. But I wanted to comment today to say that I was thinking about what you posted. And you're right--sometimes all that's left is to breathe. In or out, it makes no difference. Just keep it up.

I was unable to comment yesterday because although I have dealt with loss myself recently, I didn't think I could offer anything insightful or anything you could personally take with you. It's a tough subject, a subjective subject.

I'm mainly here today to remind you of the upcoming episode of Survivor tonight. We don't want a repeat of last week.

My job is done here :)

You're right. There are no words. And if there are, we all say them differently. It's enough just to be still and listen when someone is trying to say what they need to say to get through it.

I love love love Jeff Buckley's recording but my favorite is Rufus Wainwright's. I'm not sure why. Also, Howie Day covers it and there is one particular live recording that makes Hallelujah all it is meant to be: it's from a concert Howie played two weeks after his little brother died. Heartbreaking, gut-wrenching. The people at the show said you could hear a pin drop when he finished.

Sigh. Death sucks.

buckley's version is probably my single most favourite version of that song... which is one of my favourite songs of all time.

just remember, whether in or out:
"every breath we drew was hallelujah..."

You are a sweet lady.

Um, odd. I have been looking for that song EVERYWHERE. I love it, but could never seem to figure out the artist.

I'll have to come up with a prize for you.

Also? I think it's an exhale. But, every breath out has to start with a breath in, and every breath in will be exhaled. So, it's all the same, no? All part of a process. Maybe that's why he leaves it vague and up for personal interpretation?

Sorry, can you tell I was educated at a liberal arts institution?

Wow, I just read through all the comments from yesterday, I'd like to suggest a multi-blog hug. I'm feel privilaged to have an odd sort of access to so many thoughful people.

I adore that song (particularly the Jeff Buckley version), even though it nearly always makes me cry. I've seen it used on so many shows and movies when people's a definite link in my mind now.
I too think it's a breath out, by the way.
It's silly though, one of my favorite parts about the song is that it tells you how it's played: It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, and the major lift...
It made me so happy that the first time I sat down to the piano and tried to play it, I could.

I love that song, in a very bittersweetly feeling way.

I didn't comment yesterday because everyone else did such a good job.

I frequently listen to the kd lang version of Hallelujah on repeat - I find her voice is just perfect in it and you can really feel the emotion.

Isn't it amazing how some songs become not only the background music, but the defintion of those people or moments.

I like that song, too.
Great post.
I love the picture of "Mia Bean".

I didn't respond yesterday because everything was already said so well. This post is most eloquent. I really enjoy reading your thoughts.

I love that song! It's one of those songs that just makes me completely calm.

You have to really love a song to feel and hear those breaths - and so I think I need to go listen to it to figure this particular breath out myself. Of course I've heard the song - I haven't been living under a rock! - but hearing and listening are two totally different things.

I'm sending you a big, squishy hug.

I've always thought it was an inhale, like when your breath catches in the back of your throat in wonder, surprise, or sheer grief.

Great post... and great song.

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So the Fish Said...

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem, I whisper with my lips close to your ear.

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