The following is a transcript of this podcast episode:
Did anyone get their “wrapped” 2021 Spotify list recently? You know the thing Spotify does at the end of the year where they make a playlist of your most played songs?
I got mine and was kind of surprised and not surprised.
First of all, my most played song was “Big Bad John” by Jimmy Dean.
The reason that’s at the top of my playlist is not that it’s my favourite song. When my dad died in February, my sister made a playlist for the funeral, called it 💚💚💚. This has become our code for “we love Dad, we miss Dad”. So that’s what the playlist was called.
My dad loved cowboy songs. So there’s lots of Marty Robbins, Roger Miller, Johnny Cash – all that sort of stuff. And then he loved Irish music as well. So we’ve got a good mix of cowboy and Irish music and then a few random inside gags.
For example, ‘No Aphrodisiac’ by the Whitlams because that was my dad’s guess for everything when he didn’t know a modern music question in a quiz. He would say:
“Just put No Aphrodisiac by The Whitlams”, and myself and all my sisters would say:
“No, Dad, it’s not The Whitlams.”
“Just put it, you have to put something!”
So that’s a family favourite.
The Violent Femmes
“American Music” by the Violent Femmes. This was just a thing that Dad would say at random moments, “Oh, I like American music”, and he would just say it really casual.
When my youngest sister turned 18, we all went out clubbing together to a Violent Femmes gig in Fremantle. At Metro’s, would you believe it! And it was really good!
Of course, we are all partying out and having the best time. But when the Femmes played “American Music”, somebody rang Dad. So we were holding the phone up, dancing and singing to Dad. We did a lot of dumb stuff like that with my dad. He was an idiot, but he was good fun.
So there’s a little insight into the nostalgia I felt looking at this playlist of all my dad’s music.
One thing, though is, I’ve known for some time that I haven’t appropriately grieved for my dad. I’ve only had a couple of really good cries about it. I’m still a little numb to it, even now, ten months on. Separating from a partner about 6 weeks ago has now got all that grief up at the surface again.
The Calm App recently released a fantastic series of meditations on grief which has been brilliant. So I’ve been doing all of those and having good cries. I feel like I’ve been going through grief at the loss of my relationship and grief for the loss of my dad at the same time.
It’s where I’m at. It’s ok. We all go through this.
The Parting Glass
My favourite song on the 💚💚💚 playlist is “The Parting Glass”. It is a traditional Irish song *, and the version we have on the playlist is by The High Kings. If anyone knows anything about Irish folk music, The Dubliners and the Chieftains were probably the two most prominent, most famous Irish folk groups of their time, doing all the Traditional Irish stuff. The High Kings is a combination of the grown-up kids of members of those two bands. So excellent Irish heritage there.
The Parting Glass is the song that breaks me. Every time I hear it, I have to cry. It really brings home how I feel about my dad going. It’s basically about toasting someone who is gone sooner than you were ready to let them go.
It’s a bit emotional saying that now. I wasn’t ready to let my dad go. I probably wasn’t prepared to let my partner go. So I feel very differently about the two, but obviously, the grief is real. No matter what you objectively think about the situation, the grief is real, and you have to feel it.
I encourage you to listen to the song – it’s a beautiful song – and raise a pint of Kilkenny to my dad when you do.
Sláinte! (that’s “cheers” in Gaelic)
*Note. After recording this podcast, I did a little research about “The Parting Glass”. It’s actually a Scottish traditional song, although it has been popular in Ireland historically. Rather than being about death, it is about leaving the company of your friends or loved ones. “The Parting Glass” refers to a drink served to a guest as they are about to depart. Visit Wikipedia for more information on the song and the tradition.