Sing for the Laughter, Sing for the Tears

This post is about a few of those songs.

You know the ones I mean.

The ones that reach deep inside you and connect with your soul. You hear the first few notes, and you feel yourself welling up with tears. Or maybe the smile starts to form at the corners of your mouth before you are even aware. Songs that make you pump your arms in the air or start playing your air guitar.

The songs that you sing out loud — or even scream — when no one is around.

Or sometimes when you are so on the edge, you belt them out and don’t really care if anyone can hear you. Songs that can take all the pain and anger and whatever emotions are buried inside you and bring them out to the surface.

Here Without You, 3 Doors Down

The miles just keep rollin’

As the people leave their way to say hello

I’ve heard this life is overrated

But I hope that it gets better as we go, oh, yeah, yeah

I’m here without you, baby

But you’re still on my lonely mind

I think about you, baby

And I dream about you all the time

I’m here without you, baby

For a few weeks after Stella passed away, I think at least one of us was listening to this song at every minute of the day or night. I would walk the dog up by the water tower and look up at the starry sky and sing at the top of my lungs.

One day early on in our relationship, I was driving. Gilly had my phone and was looking for music to play. When she saw this song, she started to play it.

“Not that one,” I called out panicking. I did not want her to see me cry and knew what happened every time I heard that song. Every damn time. She answered me, “When Zion died, I listened to this song all the time. Hundreds of times. And I taught myself to play it on the guitar and sing it.”

She suggested: “Why don’t we try singing it together?”

So we sat there on her couch. And we sang it together, her with her musician’s voice and me with my croaky one. And we cried. Together.

Fix You — Coldplay

And the tears come streaming down your face

When you lose something you can’t replace

When you love someone, but it goes to waste

Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home

And ignite your bones

And I will try to fix you

We were messaging each other. It was late at night.

We were talking about music.

Her: “What song is this from – lights will guide you home and ignite your bones, and I will try to fix you ?”

Me (after looking it up): “Fix You by Coldplay. When you love someone but it goes to waste. Yeah. That sums it up. Shavua Tov. Maybe we speak later.”

Her: “That’s the one speak later Shavua tov”

As I would sit up at night and listen to the song, again and again I wondered if I could be “fixed.” I would sit in the small bedroom I had built in what used to be the hallway and watch the minutes countdown until morning.

When Stella died, a part of me had died also. I felt that I now had many “broken bits” that would never be put right. I listened to the song, the spark of hope it contained, and I thought of the one who suggested it.

Was she implying that she might be able to “fix” all the broken bits of me? Or maybe she was hoping I could so the same for her.

Let It Be, the Beatles

And in my hour of darkness

She is standing right in front of me

Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be

Let it be, let it be

Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken-hearted people

Living in the world agree

There will be an answer, let it be

For though they may be parted

There is still a chance that they will see

There will be an answer, let it be, Let it Be

Our relationship progressed. I would go back and forth internally and wonder if it was ok to be happy. Was I allowed to be happy with someone new? Should I let things progress? Or shut them down?

I was out with the kids at the mall. I saw a disk of Beatles hits. I thought the kids would like it so we bought it. But something strange kept happening. Every time I got in the car and turned on the CD, that song would play.

One day, Gilly and I were going to go to Tel Aviv. When we got in the car, I said “don’t turn on the CD. We’ll put on the radio.” I didn’t want to hear that song again. We pressed the button for Galgalatz radio.

My mouth dropped open when the first song they played was “Let it Be.”

It gets stranger.

I went to a wedding. That was absolutely painful for me. I had really wanted to be there for the son of a friend (himself a friend,) but the emotions were ripping me apart. This was only a few months after Stella had passed away. After the ceremony, we sat down at the tables and waited for the couple. The band started playing light “filler” music while we waited. It was a typical Israeli wedding band, long beards and black kippot. So I have no idea how they happened to start playing an instrumental version of Let It Be. But they did.

I bailed and fled the wedding hall. I was not yet ready to accept the message.

But I realized I would keep hearing it until I did.


A year went by.

One night, Gilly was playing a song I had never heard before. It was just beautiful, and the lyrics were so right. We had been married about a month.

Me: “Where did you hear about this song?”

Her: “Max suggested it.”

I was curious. I looked it up on the internet.

The song was written by Nikki Sixx. When I was in high school (30 years ago,) Motley Crue was one of my bands. Yes, I was one of those heavy metal fans. Sixx was the bass player. He was the epitome of a rock star. The tattoos and piercings, the outrageous stories, the over-the-edge lifestyle.

And the drugs. Fame pushed him over the edge. He became a heroin addict. He overdosed several times and once his heart stopped beating. For a few seconds, he died.

Yet he lived. He lived through the experience and cleaned himself up. He formed a new band and wrote a song about how his experience, his “death” and the fact that he got a second chance, made him realize just how beautiful life could be.

I started listening to the song. So did everyone else in the family.

One day, not too long ago, a bunch of us were in the car heading into Jerusalem.

We put the song on.

And we all started singing at the top of our lungs.


Just Open You Eyes…..

Just Open You Eyes….

Just Open You Eyes…..

And see that




Will you swear on your life

that no one will cry

at my funeral?

Maybe you don’t have to have your life savagely ripped apart to really have your eyes opened to the possibilities that this precious gift of life can hold for us. Maybe you don’t have to lose what you hold most valuable to fully appreciate the miracle of waking up each morning to a bright blue sky and knowing that you are loved.

For your sake, I hope not.

But trust me… and Nikki.

Life IS beautiful.

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