I remember, about 30 years ago, I heard a family friend was leaving a secure job in education to learn music therapy. While the field sounded new and unknown, I thought, yeah… that would work! I have always believed that music has a healing power to it, shown in the way a favourite piece can help lift one’s mood or at least accompany one through it. (For more on that idea, see my inaugural post on the Psychedelic Furs’ song, “Heaven.”)
Like many people, my wife and I have endured many losses in our 21 years together; some traumatic, some tragic, all hard. Very hard. The deaths of parents and other family, friends, friends’ children, colleagues, mentors, relationships… heartbreaking, irretrievable losses.
At the same time, we have been fortunate to have friends and family uphold us in times of grief. Sometimes that upholding is active through bringing meals and doing other caring acts, and other times it’s by something powerful a friend has offered to the universe and which comes around to us at just the right time. Like a song.
When my wife’s mother died suddenly and we were deep into the process of family arrangements, caring for her dad, and doing so many other things — the memories of which we’ve long since lost to the fog of grief — we went home one evening and listened to a beautiful song by a brilliant musician, Ben Wytinck, who lives in Winnipeg, Canada. (A song from a CD he released earlier that same year, by the way.)
At home that evening, we sat and played Wytinck’s song “’Bel,” on repeat, for what must have been about an hour, if not more. It’s a short piece at 3 minutes, 16 seconds, so we must have listened to it at least 20 times. We didn’t stop playing it because of not wanting to hear it anymore; we were so weary from loss, but at the same time felt a sense of peacefulness from hearing Ben’s deep, soothing voice and the simple yet rich piano accompaniment.
Gone but still with you… ”
(from “’Bel,” by Ben Wytinck)
The marathon of replays brought us comfort and tears that evening, and we’ve revisited the song (yes, on repeat) numerous times since, when sitting with grief and loss. It’s a true friend and trusted companion that’s been played 68 times since 2014, on my computer’s iTunes player alone.
Wytinck is from a very talented family that I once heard play in a “barn concert” that was a truly memorable event for me. I think his family still holds Christmas concerts, though we haven’t yet gotten out to one of those. The internet tells me the CD, Ben Wytinck, is still available on MySpace, CD Baby, Amazon (.ca and .com). As I urged in my first week of posts, if you like the music, please support the artist and buy it. Ben also has his CD songs on his Youtube channel. If you enjoy the song but can’t actually purchase it, please leave him a like and a comment.
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Please enjoy.