Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday Tunes: Hanson's "With You In Your Dreams"

Editor's Note: Song lyrics denoted in bold italics.

The year was 1997, and it was summertime. August, to be exact. I had just turned 16 and on a shopping spree to spend some of my birthday money, I found myself browsing the aisles of the local record store -- remember those ancient places? You know, stores filled with rows upon rows of actual, physical CDs? I know, you don't have to tell me; those certainly were the good old days. Anyway, as I was looking around, I spotted them. It was a transcendent moment if a teenager was capable of having one. I can still remember every detail of that CD. It was orange and had three boys staring pensively at the camera. I could just tell they were deep in thought, contemplating the philosophical issues of the day. Oh, yeah, they were on to something. And I wanted in on it too.


Who were these boys? I'd never heard of them, but I suddenly couldn't wait to get that CD home and pop it in my disc-man. As luck would have it, we had a family vacation coming up. It was the perfect opportunity to bring that CD along and listen to it in the car on the way to Michigan for my cousin's wedding. And listen we did. I'm talking about having it on repeat for hours on end, much to the eye-rolls and chagrin of my parents. But did I care? Heck no. It only took one listen and I was in love with those boys?

Hanson's "With You In Your Dreams"
From Middle of Nowhere

I'd loved my fair share of boy bands in the past, but Isaac, Taylor and Zac were different. So much different. You can keep your Backstreet Boys and N*sync any day of the week. I mean, they were OK if you just wanted something cool to dance around and bob your head to. But the brothers Hanson? They were musician -- in the truest sense of the word. They had something to say, something very real, about life and love. Their tunes made you feel something, and I'm not just talking about feeling your heart swoon every time Taylor hit those high notes. While I love all their songs, there's one that has always touched me on a deeper level -- and it's only come to mean more to me in recent years.

If I'm gone when you wake up
Please don't cry
And if I'm gone when you wake up
It's not goodbye
Don't look back at this time as a time
Of heartbreak and distress
Remember me, remember me
'Cause I'll be with you in your dreams

The boys often sang about the speed of life, how it never slows down and how we usually don't notice just how fast it's gone until after it's too late. I admit that I'd never spent much time thinking about those sorts of things growing up. Time? It just was. And life? It was just something that you, well, lived. There didn't seem to be anything too complicated or earth-shattering about that, as far as I could tell. I always thought all the people I loved would be here forever. Call it naive, but part of me must have thought they had some sort of superpower or some kind of superhuman ability. Honestly, I didn't think anything would ever changed. I liked the way things were and if things could just stay like that for all of time, I'd be more than content. I was happy. I had the people I loved all around me and I felt lucky. I couldn't ask for anything else.

And then, when I started losing everyone who meant everything to me -- first my grandmother, then my father, my uncle and then my grandfather -- I didn't know how to deal. At all. I just couldn't seem to make any sort of sense in the madness and grief. What did it all mean? Why did this have to happen at all? What happened? Where did they all go? One day they were here and the next day? They were just gone. They just disappeared.

Don't cry, I'm with you
Don't cry, I'm by your side
Don't cry, I'm with you
Don't cry, I'm by your side

And though my flesh is gone, whoa
I'll still be with you at all times
And although my body's gone, oh
I'll be there to comfort you at all times

I did want to cry. All the time, actually. So many emotions were flooding my head and hijacking my heart. I didn't know what to do. The people I wanted to talk to the most were no longer here. Days and months went by, and slowly -- sometimes painfully so -- I felt them coming back to me. Not literally, of course, but I felt them with me. Every time I'd look in the mirror or say something they used to say, I knew they were here.
To my surprise, that realization was an unbelievable comfort. I'd said goodbye, but maybe my loved ones would always be with me in my heart. We think that the absence of a physical presence means that you have to say goodbye and forget forever, but maybe it doesn't have to be so cut and dry like that. I'd wanted them to always be with me, and the more I thought about it, the more I felt they all were. Even now, so many years later, I like to think they're all still looking down on me. I hope they're proud of the woman I've become.

1 comment:

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