I Want To Go Back

“I was listening to the radio
I heard a song reminded me of long ago
Back then I thought that things were never gonna change
It used to be that I never had to feel the pain
I know that things will never be the same now
I want to go back
And do it all over again
But I can’t go back I know”

I said, I want to go back, And do it all over again, But I can't go back I know, I want to go back, 'Cause I'm feeling so much older

There’s only one way to write this, really, and that’s the night that it happened.

That’s alone in a hotel room, in my pajamas by 8:00pm, with Family Feud on the hotel TV, the remnants of dinner wrappers on the hotel bed, and the Raritan River flowing outside my hotel window. The week started like any other week. It started all frazzled and tired, and maybe a little gassy and hopeful too. I got terrible news on Tuesday night, that my dear friend Nora’s father had passed away unexpectedly. I know I have written at length about Nora, probably several times, but more recently, I attended her wedding with Cassidy and a very tiny (but also very chunky and large) Sawyer. My friendship with Nora is one of those rare gems we have a few of in our lives.

It can get dusty, sure, but cannot be chipped or broken. It cannot lose color.

Earlier tonight was his wake and services. My eyes are still red from the tears.

It’s not ok that this has happened. She had lost her mother only a few weeks before I gave birth to Scarlet. I didn’t know her dad very well, but I knew him through stories and photos, and through the few times I was lucky to be in a room with him. A truly gentle and strong soul, with deep love for his family, and his daughter. It’s not always my story to tell, but this blog is my story-scape, and this hotel room is my setting right now. Absolutely vast and lonely, with the glittering skyline outside my window. It’s impossible to negotiate my surroundings right now, with the river that winded through my college days, and beyond, and stretched out past the company I worked for when I met Nora, and other friends, and even a cute client I eventually married and had too many kids and dogs with. It’s all connected, with this gleaming river that winded through my father’s college days too. The woman who visited him from LI, he eventually married and had kids with.

Here I am. There’s only one way to write this, and that’s one word, and then another.

I said, I want to go back, And do it all over again, But I can't go back I know, I want to go back, 'Cause I'm feeling so much older

All these little words and dominos; the way they fall and scatter and lay. All of the things that almost didn’t happen, but maybe were inevitable to happen, because of the strength and the force with which they take down everything in their path. Or maybe it’s the strength and force with which they hold each other up. Maybe it’s all random and chaotic, and maybe there’s some divine design in the universe. I guess I always believed it was somehow a mixture of both – the way we’re domino pieces and we’re magnetic – meant to repel and attract, and knock each other down and carry each other through the widest chasms. It’s the way she texts me with Bruce Hornsby and Eddie Money songs she hears on the radio. They remind her of her dad; they remind her of me. It’s the way I nervously got into my car in the hotel parking garage, ready to drive to Nora’s dad’s services, and this came on Shuffle Radio. And it had never come on Shuffle Radio.

From what I can remember. And I remember quite a lot:

It’s not about me, but it is about me. We talk in therapy about triggers and traumas, and what it might mean to go, or to stay, and how to show up in our ways. It’s a luxury to not be about me; to get over myself and drive almost four hours, even if it means one brief hug (which it didn’t in this case – it meant many hugs and words and meaning). It’s for anyone who has ever loved or lost. It’s for the way I miss my father, and don’t want anyone to feel that pain when they’re so young.

And we are young. I daydream a lot about that point in time, and cannot believe it was 20 years ago. I had little to no anxiety, I was strong, or so I thought, and I had a group of friends. I’m not a group of friends person. I had incredible hair and metabolism, I slept 9-10 hours every night, and I had a job that led me to deep friendships and my eventual family. When Nora’s parents were still alive; when young love was untarnished and hopeful, in the reflection of the ever-changing river.

I said, I want to go back, And do it all over again, But I can't go back I know, I want to go back, 'Cause I'm feeling so much older

It’s a world of chaos and divine design, of meandering rivers rising and falling and flowing. And dominos stacked just so, sometimes perfectly aligned and supported, and sometimes, often, out of control. There’s the way the river recedes or floods, and is sometimes terrifying in its murkiness. Or the way one domino piece falls, and then there’s no end to the speed in which the others collapse under the weight of too much, too fast. When the pieces are scattering out of control, I’ll be here to support and hold you, and inch ever closer to a new path. When the river is flooding too much, too fast, I’ll be here to let you rest along my river banks. We don’t even have to talk. Just, rest.

“I said
I want to go back
And do it all over again
But I can’t go back I know
I want to go back
‘Cause I’m feeling so much older
But I can’t go back I know”

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  1. So sorry for Nora. To be left without either parent is hard, because you guys are young. When someone we love experiences loss, it does immediately remind us of our own losses. Showing up, being a friend, these are the things that matter. I’m grateful for my faith, and the many promises God makes of seeing us, knowing us, and having a plan for us that will eventually result in a grand reunion with Him and with those who have gone ahead.

    Sending hugs to you both!

  2. Sending my condolences to Nora, and to you Tamara. Music and pictures are such important partners in our present day lives and our memory scapes, and they’re so closely connected. Wanting to Go Back and relive some precious memories is something that I experience almost on a daily basis while trying to make the most of the present day and time. I enjoyed hearing this song and watching the video again! I recommend checking out The original Billy Satellite song and video.

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