“How can you mend a Broken Heart?”-Bee Gees , 1971

March 1st, 2023

I love music very much and I can generally tell you the song that was rolling around in my head when any big life event happened to me. I don’t know why this happens, perhaps a spark of romanticism. I know the song I heard when I fell in love for the fist time, I know the music that I heard in the background when my mother died, I know the music I heard right after I was promoted the first time, etc. I don’t think this makes me unusual. I think plenty of people catalog their lives through music. In my head there are lots of songs rattling about and wedged into dark corners of my memories and when I am reminded of an event these songs drop like a record in a quarterless juke box and the song plays from start to finish and I have no choice but to listen, relive and feel the pain or pleasure again.

The thing is that these songs generally are unique to the things that happen in my life with the exception of one thing; Loss of life, any life. It doesn’t matter if I lose a friend, a pet, a parent or a brother, the record player needle slips inward and I hear, “How can you mend a broken heart” by the Bee Gees. These are the lyrics as I have them memorized:

“I can think of younger days when living for my life
Was everything a man could want to do.
I could never see tomorrow
But I was never told about the sorrow.

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.

I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees
And misty memories of days gone by
We could never see tomorrow, no one said a word about the sorrow.

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend a broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.”

I have no idea why this song attached itself to loss for me. I really didn’t have anything bad happen in the 70’s but this is the song my psyche chose. I have no control over that song replaying from time to time and there is nothing for it but to listen and experience the recall. I like the song, so that helps but the words jut remind me that as a human we really have no control of any part of life or natural death for that matter and the best that we can do is just listen, learn, and survive.

I have learned one thing for sure and that is that I will never really find the solution to loss. I will never really find a quick recovery path but I know absolutely that LIFE is eventually the answer and living your best life for the ones you loved and lost is the right thing to do.

So for me, deciding on the activity for this summer started with the question of getting past the idea that if we went to Alaska on the Patience again that it was possible that I would be too sad to enjoy it because all of it would remind me of my brother Tom and I would have to listen to that damn song in my head constantly. I was afraid that it would just be too hard to be on the boat and not have Tom joining us for another adventure that he called a trip of a lifetime. The funny thing is that I think that he knew that I would feel this way and he made me promise, over and over, to go back to Alaska for the both of us. He went as far as emailing me the exact coordinates, which he had captured on his cellphone in the area where he took down his prize bear in Alaska. He wanted me to go there and in that exact spot, let him go… At the time, I understood what he wanted me to do physically, but I wasn’t fully aware of what he was asking me to embrace. 

I have had time to mourn and reflect and I now understand what he meant. He continued to start all his texts to me with the coordinates at the top of the text, I guess he felt that he was planting those numbers and the path to recovery in my head and heart as a gift of sorts. He did this for the entire last 6 months of his life and those coordinates now live right beside the lyrics from the Bee Gees song. 

So even if I have to hear the Bee Gees in the back of my mind over and over, I intend to honor his request. This trip, this journey, this adventure, and this entire summer and boating season is dedicated to my brother Tom. No matter how many times I have to ask, “How can you mend a broken heart?” Because the truth is that you simply can’t avoid the music of your life.

I am sharing the blog with all his hunting and fishing buddies who were with him on the big hunt and all his fishing buddies that will miss him every year especially during Walleye season.   Here is to all the friends and family that went out with him to the woods or to the wilderness and to those that had to hear about the adventures, over, and over, and over again. If you saw that bear pelt hanging on his wall then you know what I mean.   I am dedicating this season to healing and to the life that Tom lived and I will do it in a place that Tom loved to go. 

So, “How can you mend a broken heart?” YOU can’t, I can’t, only time can do the work and you must just live, listen and embrace the music that plays along with those memories until the music stops bringing pain and starts to bring joy because you did the work to honor someone that deserved to be remembered.

Alaska, here we come.  Tom I love ya man!

2 thoughts on ““How can you mend a Broken Heart?”-Bee Gees , 1971

  1. Broken hearts very very slowly heal by enjoying life. But they are still broken but they do become less painful 💕💕

    1. Sharain,

      I know that you understand what I am feeling. Loss is such a hard part of adulting. It makes me wish I was a kid again and could be carefree.

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