10 January 2014

Music Day - Note To Anna

Trigger warning: references to suicide.

I've been boning up on '90s DA (because, you know, it's not like I have a thousand other things to do). There's a lot of hidden gold in there -- you don't really hear about DA through the '90s except for MotorCycle, and even then, that's as an album. Hardly anyone talks about the individual tracks on it.

So back to the story... I was reading lyrics from their '90s album on their website, and this song struck me. Actually, 'struck' isn't a strong enough word. This song makes my heart hurt.

I've been on both sides of this song -- not to the letter (because in that case I wouldn't even be typing this), but I've dangled off the ledge in both directions.

At first glance it appears to be from the perspective of a so-called 'suicide survivor,' that is, someone who knows someone who has committed suicide, and is now left trying to make sense of it. (DA themselves don't commit to one story or another on this song, but they give 'suicide' as a possibility. However, the 'suicide survivor' tone of the song appears to be metaphorical as well.)

On one hand it hurts because I remember those days when I was suicidal and I completely believed that no-one cared about me or would even notice if I did kill myself. To read what could have been a letter to me (if any of my friends had any inclination to poetry) was... heartbreaking, for lack of a better description. The song builds so perfectly and that second-last line... I could not save you... it breaks me. Because now, years later, I finally catch a fleeting glimpse of how the people around me do truly love me. I still can't touch it or hold it, but I see it, just for a moment, as I read that line in the context of the song.

On the other side, I remember only last year, when a very dear friend told me she had attempted suicide a few days earlier. I had known she was depressed, and I had known that she'd been having suicidal thoughts, but for her to stand in front of me and tell me she had deliberately overdosed on her medication... you can't help but begin to imagine what could have been. What could have been the last time I saw her alive. What sickening shock and numb tears would have been happening that day instead of her being able to talk to me, even to tell me this. What could have been the weight of knowing I couldn't save her... all of it is perfectly wrapped up in this song. If I had the poetry skills (and creativity) of Terry Scott Taylor, I could have written this but for God's grace on her -- and me -- that night.

(Also, the cello interlude is a beautifully melancholy touch.)

Title: Note To Anna
Artist: Daniel Amos
Album: Kalhoun
Year: 1991
Label: Frontline Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.
Full lyrics here.

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