April 23, 2013

Sorry. Not the damn board game, either.

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I was only 10 years old when the song Hard to Say I’m Sorry by the band Chicago became a huge hit. Every time I heard the song, which was often in the Summer of 1982, I would cry. Oftentimes, I would cry myself to sleep.
 
Hold me now.
It’s hard for me to say I’m sorry.
I just want you to stay.
After all that we’ve been through,
I will make it up to you. I promise to.
 
Mama and Papa were going through a war of roses.
 
And after all that’s been said and done,
You’re just the part of me I can’t let go.
 
The Fall prior I came home one evening to a kitchen counter full of brown paper grocery store bags full of clothes and toiletries for us three kids and Mama. I was told to go say goodbye to Papa who sat in the living room in front of the glowing TV. The four of us and our brown paper bags piled into the Ford Granada and off Mama drove to our grandparents’ house in the city while Papa stayed tucked inside the only house I knew.
 
Couldn’t stand to be kept away...just for the day...from your body.
Wouldn’t wanna be swept away, far away, from the one that I love.
 
I remember the day we packed our belongings and piled back into the Granada and headed home. I was happy and excited. We were going to be a family again.
 
Hold me now.
It’s hard for me to say I’m sorry.
I just want you to know.
 
But then we ended up camping upstairs in my sister’s attic bedroom when Papa was home so that we weren’t ever all together with him.
 
Hold me now.
I really want to tell you I’m sorry.
I could never let you go.
 
Every night when it was my bedtime, I would climb the dark brown carpeted stairs to the attic and get into bed while my sister’s radio played. And every night I waited to hear Hard to Say I’m Sorry.
 
After all that we’ve been through,
I will make it up to you. I promise to.
 
And every night I cried myself to sleep.
 
And after all that’s been said and done,
You’re just the part of me I can’t let go.
 
Then one day Mama changed the locks on the doors to the house when Papa was at work. She packed a couple of his suitcases and set them on the blue-gray front porch. She sent me to a family down the street to play.
 
After all that we’ve been through,
I will make it up to you. I promise to.
 
Papa went home to being locked out of his house.  
 
You’re gonna be the lucky one.
 
Five years later, their divorce was finalized. 30 years later and any time I hear even a snippet of this song, it’s like I’m 10 years old again.
 
They never did say they were sorry, either—not to each other and not to us.
 
 
 
 
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35 comments:

  1. Can I say it now? I am sure it won't mean bupkus, but damn, I am so sorry. That song kills me too, but not for the same reasons.

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    1. aw thanks for saying it now.

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    2. I swear that song could make a lampshade cry...and now you've added all these additional layers of meaning.

      So beautifully written and yet so heart-wrenching. Your post, that is, not the song (although yes, that too.) In summary, I really can feel this post. Thank you for sharing this!

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  2. That song hits me. I have no memory to link it to, it just hits me.

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    1. it's a moving song even without linking a memory to it.

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  3. Oh, hon, I am so very sorry that this was your growing up experience. This post was so heart-wrenching. I loved Chicago growing up, and to me that song was just words. I'm so sad that for you it was so much more.

    I hope that writing this helps you heal. And I send you love.

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    1. oooh no, i'm OK. it sucked then but today i'm i'm actually "appreciative" of the whole experience. but thank you. :)

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  4. So very hard. Amazing the way music can tie us so tightly to moments and hold us there, whether that is a comfort or a hard reminder. Loved the way you weaved the song through the post.

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  5. Wow. I love the way you used the song lyrics to move your story along. Well done and - wow.

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    1. thanks. :) it's all good, no worries.

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  6. I hope you dont get 50 of these I hit comments in frustration a few too many times...anyhoo...just wanted to say its a nice piece and divorce sucks on so many levels...thats the condensed version!

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    1. heh, this is your only comment. sorry for the trouble. yes, divorce blows.

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  7. This is so dang sad and unfair.
    But is my story better - or my parents´ one, rather.
    I was 9, Mom came in and said she leaves. Bro was 4 and cried his soul out. She never left, cause she was married, in front of God. A document, a piece of paper made her stay after fearing us like crazy. Threatening us?
    Maybe they both, Mom and Dad, would´ve been better off divorced - and us, too - awww, who knows. I´m sorry that song gets you all the time. Music is so strong...
    My parents are both gone now.
    Life is short, huh.

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    1. oh Iris. i'm SO very sorry for your loss. for your story. life is very short.

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  8. Divorce is never easy on children. When my parents split I was already 18 and off to college so it really effect me too badly. It was much harder on my four younger siblings.

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    1. i think parents just need to be honest with their kids- no matter their age. make sure their child knows and believes it's not their fault, they (the child) are still loved by both...

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  9. i loved that song... but now i think of you.. it really helped me when my mom said she was sorry. i'm sorry for how it was for you. i understand. and some things will always bring us back to those moments. :(

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    1. Sorry and I Love You can never really be said too much

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  10. I'm so sorry, that's a lot for a 10 yo. I was in HS when that song came out. It's a classic, but I'm sorry it triggers those feelings for you.

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  11. That is brutal. Five years is a long time for you to deal with the drama. I hope someday you get the apology you should.

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    1. oh the drama lasted longer than five years but in hindsight, i'm kind of grateful for it all. would it do it all over again? hell no.

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  12. Ok. Now you've made me cry...and download the song. I haven't heard it in years, but your disection of it is really pulling at my heart.

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  13. One summer at camp when I was about 13 we were so into Chicago. We used to play their greatest hits albums on repeat, so all of those songs, and especially this one, remind me of that summer. Young girls on the brink of being women with all the angst and drama that entails. I love these songs, but even the happier ones can dissolve me into a puddle of tears and nostalgia. I'm sorry that this one brings up such painful memories for you. Hugs.

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  14. That hurts. That just hurts. I'm sorry. Not that it helps. But I ache for the ten year old you.

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  15. I read about how you interact with your spouse and child, so it's clear that you didn't follow your parents' example. Even this post, though it must have been painful to write, did not come across as bitter.

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    1. thank you so much for reading and for this comment. really. i didn't intend for this to be so depressing. and i used to be quite bitter toward my parents. but... life is just too short. it's just not worth it. they did the best they knew how. 40 yr old me knows they loved me.

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  16. I loved that song and loved how you weaved it through your story. And I'm so sorry you went through this. I'm just reading your response to the comment above and I'm happy to hear you've let go of bitterness toward your parents. Not an easy fear and one I still struggle with at times. Lovely post!

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  17. I love the way you weave the song through the story. Such a sad song, such a sad story.

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  18. I liked the way that you laid this all out. It is a sad story, but in all of your comments, you show that you've dealt with this in a positive way. It's funny how songs and music attach themselves to memories we have of times in our life. Positive and negative.

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  19. I'm sorry you had to go through that. What a difficult thing for a child to witness. Sending you big hugs.

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