Her new album has spoken to me more than any other though. It's partially because of what I am going through - and partially because she's just basically amazingly talented. Not all of her songs are rock beats that may or may not drop the F-bomb. Many of them are stunningly beautiful, soul-bearing, and heart-breaking. The raw vulnerability she shows in her songs has always spoken to me - as a writer, as a woman, and as someone who knows what it's like to feel so violently. There are a lot of her songs that apply to my life these days and those will be coming up in some future posts. This one though, is about her single "Just Give Me a Reason", which is a duet with Nate Ruess, the lead singer of Fun. To sum up the song, it's about a couple who has experienced some hard times in their relationship and are trying to figure things out again. The song begins with these words:
You were a thief
You stole my heart
And I your willing victim
I let you see the parts of me
That weren't all that pretty
And with every touch
you fixed them
If those aren't the perfect words to describe my relationship with Mike, I don't know what is. In the first 30 years of my life, I kept guys at arm's reach. I never let them get too close. When I met Mike, everything changed. Suddenly and completely. He is my other half - there is no question.
The song continues with Pink being concerned that something has changed in their relationship and she is afraid he is pulling away. At the same time, Nate begins to sing his part and tells her that she is making things up. He loves her just as much as always. She's not interpreting things the way they truly are. He doesn't understand what she's feeling. She doesn't understand what he's feeling.
This is what it is like to lose your child. Men and women grieve so differently, it is so easy to misinterpret your spouse's actions and intentions. Men are able to compartmentalize their emotions and deal with them in a more matter of factly kind of way. To their wives, this seems callous and cold. A woman fears he isn't grieving or that he doesn't understand the complexity of her grief. She is falling apart, why isn't he? The poor man doesn't understand why his wife is having so much trouble with her emotions. Why can't she sort through them rationally? Why is everything spilling out of her all the time? The thing is - both of them are grieving. Both of them are doing things correctly and the way they need to - it's just lost in translation. This is where communication is so important.
In the song, the two are trying to communicate with each other. They are trying to tell the other one what they need and how they feel. They sing the chorus together:
Just give me a reason
Just a little bits enough
Just a second we're not broken just bent
And we can learn to love again
Statistically, 16% of marriages do not survive the loss of a child. Objectively, I can see why. Loss changes you. When you build a relationship on who you are, when you change, the relationship also changes. If you're not willing to work on staying together - you won't. The loss will divide you. Personally, though, I am not worried.
When your heart is broken in the same places as the one you love, you have to relearn how to make it beat again. Even if you have no idea what the other person is talking about, you try your best to understand. You make yourself realize that this person is in just as much pain and needs just as much support as you do. You look at your life together as more than what it once was. Before, you loved each other with a carefree innocence - skipping through a meadow of lavender. But now, you are both hobbled by this loss and you aren't really sure how to pick yourselves up and walk on your splintered legs. So, you lean on each other. You bind your broken bones to theirs, you wrap your arms around them, and you limp forward. Slowly. Painfully. But together. And we are doing that.
That's what Pink's song says to me. Life is so much harder than it used to be. We are different. Who we are is different. How we react to things is different. But our love is the same. We don't love each other any less. We don't value each other any less. In fact, I think we value each other more.
The scars on our hearts are healing together. And even though this tragedy has covered us in dirt and muck and pain, "we'll come clean".