Day Twelve: Critique a Piece of Work
“Hold on, Hold On.
You are not alone”
~ REM Everybody Hurts
Another day I initially felt very tempted to skip, another day I found myself thinking this isn’t my thing, what on earth would I write about? Then something came to me, something very personal. It is not really a critique or a review, more an expression of what one song means to me and how it will play for me at the end of my days.
When I tell people that I want this song played at my funeral, at the start when everyone walks in, the reaction is usually always the same. It is always something along the lines of ‘wow you really want people to cry, don’t you?’ and accompanied by a look that suggests I am being mean, that I am bad person for wanting to do that to people. It is a song with a reputation for being bleak, a depressing song about hurt and loneliness, a ‘tear-jerker’. And to be fair, once upon the time I thought so too.
As a teenager, my brother introduced me to a new world of music, quite different to the boy bands my friends were listening to. This was how REM came into my life. I loved REM then and still do, they seem to get how odd, screwed up and yet awesome this life can be. They say to me that it is okay to be different, quirky and expressive.
‘Everybody Hurts’ was released shortly before I split up with my long-term boyfriend and temporarily moved back into my old bedroom at my parent’s house. I was devastated. My world and security had broken down and I was lost. This song spoke to me of my grief, encouraged my sorrow and let me dwell again and again on how my life had gone so badly wrong. To me it was indeed a song filled with hurt and sadness.
For years though this song has become a positive message to me especially when life has seemed more than bleak. It is a song of hope, of finding a way through difficult and painful times, of not being alone. There is acceptance that life comes with suffering, that everybody hurts and cries. It is to me the perfect song to be played at a funeral, at a time when grief can seem too much to bear.
It is a song that has held me through many difficult times, it is sometimes the very thing that has stopped me feeling so alone and empty when depression has struck or when I have come face to face with grief. Everybody does hurt, I hurt and it is this song that has helped me to hang on through some of the worst parts of my life. Thank you REM for giving me this song, my world would have been a tougher place without it.