“And The Stars Spell Out Your Name”

8 years ago, my life was shattered.
Earlier this week in my blog post about Child Grief Awareness month, I talked about how children will relive the loss of their loved one over and over again as their loss changes context over time.  This happens to me every year.  Every November 1st, I start replaying the conversations and feelings over and over again of the last 14 days of my mom’s life.  I tear up over the bad things, I laugh at our last adventure together, and I take comfort in our last conversation 8 years ago today.  
Last night as I was driving to my volunteer grief group’s “Family Night”, I had my “sad” CD playing, and a song we used for my mom’s funeral came on.  I decided to use “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John as one of the songs on her video of pictures from her life.  I remembered how I had purposely chosen the original version in respect to Princess Diana because I did not think that we could compare anyone to her and her amazing work in society.  But last night, I decided that I would listen to the Princess Diana version of “Candle in the Wind” and these lyrics hit me.  
“…Now you belong to heaven
And the stars spell out your name
And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never fading with the sunset
When the rain set in
And your footsteps will always fall here
Along England’s greenest hills
Your candle’s burned out long before
Your legend ever will…”- Elton John 
Stars are how Mom and I would always describe my dad and Grammy in “shout outs” in my dance recital programs, drill team programs, and theater performances.  “Your stars are watching tonight” she would write and it was our code for me to remember that good or bad, they were still there and close to us.  Elton John writes “And the stars spell out your name” in this version of his beautiful song.  Last night it hit me, she joined my other two stars that we have written about for years.  Three stars.  Two parents and a grandmother who acted as third caregiver for my entire life.  They are all watching not next to me I wish they were, but above.
Some ask why I still need to take time off from work on this day, why I have a handful of Tootsie Rolls stockpiled from Halloween in my car, and my “sad” CD is in my car for my trek to and from the cemetery on my own.  How do I feel different on November 14th from August 8th, the day my dad died?  Yes, my dad’s death was awful and a significant moment in my life.  I will always wish that he was here.  But on November 14th, my world as I knew it ended.  People don’t always realize the secondary losses that we experience when our loved ones died.  I knew when I woke up that week that I would no longer live in my childhood home.  All of my holiday traditions, at least temporarily, were going to change.  I had to be thankful for things three days after we buried her.  This day will always be hard because I didn’t just lose my mother, my confidant, my best friend, my protector, I lost my world.  My entire identity shifted.  I no longer was someone’s child, or a child at all for that matter.  I had to find someone new to call between every class while I would be walking on campus during college.  I have spent the last eight years processing and reprocessing emotions and memories every time I look at a picture of my family before 2010. 
I am thankful for those who listen to me when the days are hard.  I am thankful for the friends that know that if I don’t hear from them, I have to have a proof of life check.  I am thankful for the life that I have continued to build for myself and my family because I have three stars above me watching me and still guide me.  I thank you for reading my thoughts on this day, because I know, as a therapist, writing about your thoughts and feelings helps you to process your life. Most importantly, I am thankful to my hard working, piano playing, Christmas obsessed, loving, and beautiful mother who I am forever indebted to for the lessons, skills, memories, and most of all, her constant and unwavering love. Today I remember the good times and reflect on the hard ones.  Thank you for being the best Mom for me. 
“…And even though we try
The truth brings us to tears
All our words cannot express
The joy you brought us through the years…” – Elton John 

Published by Bryna Talamantez

LMFT specializing in grief counseling for children, teens, adults and families.

One thought on ““And The Stars Spell Out Your Name”

  1. Thank you for writing this. We deal with our grief in different ways but when October comes, the month my first wife died, I have the blues, similar to what you referenced. My sad song is the theme from the movie “Titanic.” That was the last movie I saw with her.

Leave a Reply