Stubborn Love | The Power of Lyrics

“Its better to feel pain, than nothing at all.

The opposite of love is indifference.”


It was around 10:30 on a Wednesday night, and there I was, driving out to Laguna Hills to bring someone who had passed away into our care. Only this time I was not going to be calling a stranger to let them know their loved one was in our care. I was not going to fill out any paperwork with a strange name at the heading, nor was I going to be setting up an appointment for the family to meet an Arranger.

iStock_000021099106SmallThe man I was receiving was my great-uncle. I was going to be calling my grandmother (telling her that her brother was in our care), and I was going to be writing a name I had heard my entire life into our log.

I had received the call about his somewhat “expected” death about 2 hours earlier. I had been out playing a night round of disc-golf with some of my closest friends. When I told them I was leaving early to go comfort my mother and grandmother, they shook my hand, hugged me, gave their condolences, and wished me well. I was fine. In fact, I was more than fine. I was relieved.

My Uncle Jim was someone who could be easily forgotten. Not by choice, but by comfort. He was an addict, a borderline recluse, and a common dealer of the ‘ol disappearing act. I had maybe met him a dozen times in my 23 years, and each time there was a complaint about him. I had never really grown close to him. He was family but felt more like an acquaintance.

Yet even still, there I was, driving out to work on my night off, ready to make sure he had a good reception into the mortuary Care Center.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I got an idea. I parked, and I walked over to the Seven-Eleven in our neighboring shopping complex. I bought a Monster energy drink, and a pack of Marlboro Reds. I haven’t smoked since I started working for the mortuary, but Reds were (Uncle) Jim’s favorite. I searched for a lighter in my car, put my Amazon Kindle music player on shuffle, and took a long drag out of the cigarette. The first song started playing, and it broke me down.

lumineersThe song that came on was “Stubborn Love” by The Lumineers. For those of you who have never heard it, it is about a gentleman involved with a woman who is always letting him down. She lies, steals from him, and cheats but yet he still loves her. He still is trying to find a way to make it work.

The song made me realize what and why I was doing what I was doing. The fact that Jim had caused so much pain in our family was thrown out the window. I realized my indifference towards him was selfish, and that my stubborn love for one of my most distant family members led me to where I was at that exact moment. It was stubborn love that led my grandma to stay awake for almost 48 hours to make sure she was there for his final moments, and it was stubborn love that had my mom playing his favorite Elvis tunes in his ear as he lay there unconscious.

I find that some of life’s most precious lessons can be found in the lyrics of some of our favorite songs. Families usually bring in an entire playlist of music that helps them reminisce about the life their loved one led. It’s beautiful to sit in the back of the chapel and hear I Did It My Way and hum to Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Why? Because music stays with every generation to come. The lessons and memories locked into some of our favorite lyrics are going to be here forever. Some will bring us pain and sadness, but many will bring us understanding and light. From now on, Stubborn Love will forever be associated on that cold Wednesday night, in my favorite parking lot, having one of Jim’s favorite vices.

As Chuck Riccardi said a few blogs back to “Stop and smell the roses…” I encourage you to maybe stop and listen to the lyrics. It may just be the lyrics of your life, or, like in my case, someone else’s.


|| what do you think?

What songs have lyrically stood out to you?

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? Next time, look up its lyrics and see what happens!

Do you have any songs that have a special meaning to you or a loved one?

By | 2014-04-16T19:57:22-07:00 April 16th, 2014|Inspiration|52 Comments


  1. Neil April 17, 2014 at 7:24 am - Reply

    Hi Michael –

    I did not know that part of your evening. I knew you had brought Uncle Jim into our care the night he died. I just did not know all the details that had taken place, I love details and stories. Theses are great details to know about! Music is so powerful, it can take you to places you want to live in or escape to. My all time favorite song is One Love, by Bob Marley. This is not just a funky reggae, it is about US loving each other with all our heart and not having indifference towards each other. Simple yet powerful and true!! Thank you for sharing your journey and story, it is worth sharing! Great Job Michael!!!

    • Michael Thomas April 19, 2014 at 9:18 am - Reply

      Thank you for your feedback Neil! And thank you so much for being available. Thats the #1 thing I take pride in is availability in time of need. You set a very good example for all of us to share this One Love with our community and clients. Keep doing your thing, man. With your leadership, we can move mountains.

  2. Tom April 17, 2014 at 8:11 am - Reply

    Thank you, Mike for the thoughts you have shared with us. I’ve found, personally, when I make judgements about myself, others, or events that they usually don’t have a basis in reality. That is, I ask myself to find to find another way of looking at at my or another’s behavior. And, lyrics offer a different perspective to clarify or chalange me or us to look at life through a different lens.


    • Michael Thomas April 19, 2014 at 9:15 am - Reply

      Thank you Tom. We share some similar thought processes, you and I. Our fascination for human emotion and ‘how things work” I think adds another level to our relationship.

  3. Molly Keating April 17, 2014 at 9:12 am - Reply

    I love this post because I think you are talking about a concept that many people are familiar with but that no one talks about. There have been many songs in my life that have served as significant markers of moments and struggles. They are like pathways into old parts of my soul and even though some of them are painful, they are beautiful symbols that mark where I’ve been & how I’ve changed.

    A very significant song for me has always been “Fix You” by Coldplay. It came out around the time my first dog died, Pumpkin. When I would sing the words, “I will try to fix you” I was saying to her that I would “fix” her in my memory, not forget what a sweet pet she was. She was put down when her hip broke and these words, “lights will guide you home and ignite your bones” brought me so much comfort.

    Thank you for bringing up the power of songs in our lives. I’m so glad that you have one to mark not only Jim’s life but a powerful realization you had about family. It’s a beautiful story.


    • Michael Thomas April 19, 2014 at 9:13 am - Reply

      “Fix You” is one of my all time FAVORITE songs. It brings so many different emotions forward, like safety and courage, but also pain and suffering. It’s meaning suddenly changed when I heard it in a commercial for World Trade Center. Literally made me tear up. The memories of that day combined with that song very eloquently put it all in perspective as to not worry so much about what happened that day, but how we are going to “fix” it moving forward. Thanks Molly again for your leadership with our Blog Team

  4. Jeff Turner April 17, 2014 at 11:26 am - Reply

    What a great picture into these private and intense moments during the first hours after your uncles story ended here. I too am thankful for music and lyrical poetry and the stories they can weave into our lives. I guess that’s why most movies need a soundtrack and why some soundtracks are far better than the movie. What a special service you were able to do for your uncle and your family. The peace of mind knowing that “you” were the one caring for him this must have brought to your entire family. Reverence for the vessel that carried your uncle through all of the ups and downs, the happiness and pain is so touching. The almost instantaneous transformation of your heart and attitude toward him and your role in caring for him is profound in ways I cannot fully express here.

    Michael, you are a credit to our profession and we hear it often about you from the families that you serve. Thank you for what you do, but more importantly, thank for your heart, because your heart is “why” you do what you do so very well.


    • Michael Thomas April 19, 2014 at 9:02 am - Reply

      Thank you, Jeff. It means a lot. The pain of it all came in short and quick shock, but it was still very real. I have come to peace with his passing, and that song now brings a smile to my face. Thank you for your leadership in drive for excellence, as it directly impacts my performances on services.

  5. Becky Finch Lomaka April 17, 2014 at 11:28 am - Reply

    What a meaningful blog! I am looking out at some beautiful spring flowers as I write this. You and Chuck are so right that we need to remember to take time to stop and smell the roses. I am so glad you allowed yourself that moment to contemplate and grieve your loss; music sends such a powerful message to us. When my friend’s son died of cancer last year, one of his young friends played the guitar and sang “I Will See You Again” by Carrie Underwood and since my brother died, I have found that song especially meaningful and comforting. When we were planning my brother’s funeral, my 18-year-old niece found great comfort spending hours compiling a playlist of her Dad’s favorite songs to be played at his visitation. We even played some of my brother’s favorites as we were gathered by his side at the hospital as he was taken off life support. Something about music helps give us permission to pause and and remember.


    • Michael Thomas April 18, 2014 at 11:36 am - Reply

      That’s beautiful, Becky. I hope that that song continues to be a tool of healing and a reminder of the love you had for your dear sibling. Love you, Beckster.

  6. Chuck Ricciardi April 17, 2014 at 11:49 am - Reply

    It is only when we are still that we can be receptive to all the energies around us. Taking that moment in your car, and having the universe play that song at that moment allowed you to open up and grieve. Music is a huge part of are lives and helps us along our journey. There are very few funeral or memorial events and celebrations that do not include music. Families spend lots of time deciding what songs are best to help tell their loved ones story and music can do just that. I know whenever you hear an Elvis song for the rest of your life you will be thinking of your great uncle Jim.

    I believe you are on a path that was meant to be, keep serving from the heart and you will receive more that you ever thought possible.


    • Michael Thomas April 18, 2014 at 11:34 am - Reply

      Thank you Chuck for your inspiration with your writing. It played a big piece in my evening on that night. Obviously, I was stopping to smell the roses when I listened hard to that song. Now one of my favorite songs has a whole different meaning to it, and i thank you.

  7. Anne April 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    I so identify with this. In my growing up family, music was first and foremost. My father could play any instrument placed in his hands, beautifully, professionally and with flair. I remember him playing “Midnight Fire Alarm on the piano, vigorously pounding it out. I was 5 when he died so that is an early memory. I still make my older sister play it when I get to Canada..After he became a minister, he toned down to the piano and hawaiian guitar, mostly.
    The whole family sang for pleasure and in church in groups or solo. I sang on the radio from age 5-10 in the 50’s. I had to memorize all the songs, so they are all somewhere in my head. I always sang in choirs and I often sing for people who are dying, songs of heaven to help them across.
    Lou loved music as much or more than I and broadened my horizons from hymns to praise songs and all the jazz, classics, band music and John Phillip Souza, and what he classified as true music. There was never a day in our life when there wasn’t some music playing in our home.
    Here’s just a few: I Got You, Babe, All I need is the Air that I breathe, Fix You, SlowPoke, We’ll sing in the Sunshine, I’ll be Seeing You, What’ll I Do?, Fix Your Eyes on Jesus, Answer (Sara MaLachlan) Call Me Irresponsible, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Lilly Marlene, Take It to The Limit, The Wiffinpoof Song.
    The last one, I will tell you about… In junior high, I was in a girl’s chorus and we learned the Wiffinpoof Song. My 2 best girlfriends and I loved to sing it together any time. We were in the woods in Northern Michigan having just girl time at the family cabin and driving through a meadow. There was a small herd of deer together. We rolled down the window and decided to sing the Wiffinpoof song to them. They all raised their heads and listened to the whole song then all took off into the woods. Every song has a memory or emotion attached to it. It is different for every human, but one of the greatest gifts from God that we ever get.

    • Michael Thomas April 18, 2014 at 9:31 am - Reply

      What a funny story! I have a similar one only I was singing “The Final Countdown” from Europe with my buddies in Vegas, and a whole giant group of people chimed in with us!
      I love the song Bridge Over Troubled Water. Truly one of the most beautiful songs ever written. And wonderfully performed. I encourage you to go on YouTube and watch when Simon and Garfunkel performed it when they were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall Of Fame. AMAZING
      Thank you for your strength, Anne.

  8. Joe Lavoie April 17, 2014 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    Michael , I feel their are a lot of songs we hear that ring true with everyone but one that sticks in my mind is the playing of taps to honor a veteran who has served our country. It’s the emotional meaning of the song and the feeling that comes over you when you hear it I cannot express enough heartfelt emotions as to how this song makes me feel. Taps has always held an important place in my heart and always will.
    Thank You so much for sharing , sincerely Joe Lavoie

    • Michael Thomas April 18, 2014 at 9:25 am - Reply

      I agree Joe. Taps is a shock to the system every time I hear it. I get to see the raw emotion that it provokes from families, and it is moving beyond what words can express. Thanks for the feedback Lavoie, and thank you for listening to my rough draft when i was writing it.

  9. Kari Lyn Leslie April 17, 2014 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for such a meaningful and well written blog about Unkie. I think that you “get it” more than most, when it comes to how I felt about him. He was my hero when I was a child, and my heartbreak as an adult. Our relationship was marked by so many great songs!! Anything Elvis, The devil went down to Georgia, Hank, why do you drink? Even the theme to The Dukes of Hazard. We knew them all by heart. As a child he was bigger than life, as an adult, I saw through the smoke and mirrors. No matter what, he ALWAYS loved me. That was was the constant I could always depend on. Saying goodbye with music was so natural. You said it so well, ours was a stubborn love!!

    I love you Son, and I love reading your blogs. I couldn’t be any prouder of the man you are today. If I wasn’t your Mom, and knew you, I would wish that I was!! Your words and actions touch my heart every day.

    To the moon and back!!

    P.S. No more smoking!! 😉

    • Michael Thomas April 18, 2014 at 9:22 am - Reply

      It is plain to see how important music was to him. Probably because wherever he went, the music would always go with him. I guess we can say that this whole post was pure inspiration from that stubborn old guy.

  10. Shayna Mallik April 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    What a great blog and a great memory. Working by your mom I have heard the stories of Unkie and their relationship. I love hearing her memories because I can see the love that will be there forever. I never knew how that night went. I knew your mom and grandpa Pat was there but that was it. I didn’t know that you went to them to comfort them and also brought him to the mortuary. Wow! I just have to say you are a great guy and I have always known how lucky your parents are to have you as a son, you really care more than words can describe. I am so honored that you wrote this blog and showed everybody how your night went that night. I know how much it meant to Pat and your mom to have you take your Unkie and be there through the whole journey. Thank you Michael for being true to yourself and giving every family that walks thru this door the love, compassion, and caring they need.


    • Michael Thomas April 18, 2014 at 9:18 am - Reply

      Thank you Shayna for your kind words. It means so much that you were ears for my mom during those rough couple of weeks. Thank you for your smile and your positive attitude, you truly are a wonderful contribution to O’connors.

  11. Joanna Ramirez April 17, 2014 at 4:29 pm - Reply


    Great blog and very well written! I myself am a huge music fan. My favorite thing about music is lyrics. I find solace in music and when I listen to a song that reminds me of a period of time, I immediately get goose bumps and nostalgia roles in. I am an X Gen-ner and the 90s was an amazing time for music. Many songs are reminders but I song particular that send me back is “Unbelievable by EMF”. Uber cheesy but it always played on the radio. I remember sitting in the RTD (MTA to the younger generations) and jamming in my head like the music video. When I hear it now, it just takes me back to those rides. Again, awesome blog!


    • Michael Thomas April 18, 2014 at 9:13 am - Reply

      And thank YOU for being one of the first set of ears to hear it. It made me very confident about the post being relevant and I really appreciate it.
      I agree with you. The 90’s were awesome. Questionably the best generation of music ever. Lyrical content was at an all time high at that point. My personal favorite song from the 90’s is Black by Pearl Jam. Depressing, yes, but just beautiful and elegant. LONG LIVE THE 90’s.

  12. Lori April 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    I love the way songs can put us in a trance, of sorts, and allow us to succumb to feelings that may not surface without the words that are being sung to us through the radio.
    I love that even though your uncle was a bit of an outcast and you did not experience a close relationship….you took time out and honored him.
    That tells me about your heart. I am proud of what you did and I can tell you first hand the way reading about it affected your Grammy Pat today.
    Thank you for writing this….

    • Michael Thomas April 18, 2014 at 9:09 am - Reply

      I find myself entranced more often than not. I would always play “guess the artist” or “finish the lyrics” with my dad in the car, so I have this immediate focus that kicks in whenever a recognizable song comes on. When I finally snap out it, it feels like a refreshing splash of water on the face. Does this just happen to me? who knows. Thanks so much for the feedback Lori.

  13. Elsa April 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Great Blog. I listen to music all the time. I believe that the right song can get you through just about anything. In particular for me, Dave Matthews does that for me. Sometimes the right song can get you through some of the hardest and even some of the greatest times. I appreciate your perspective on this.

    • Michael Thomas April 18, 2014 at 9:04 am - Reply

      LONG LIVE THE 90’s! I love Dave Mathews. Now, I don’t have an addiction, and can only take him in doses, but he truly is a gifted musician and song writer. Thanks Elsa

  14. Shasta Cola April 17, 2014 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    Hey Michael, great blog. I know how it is to break down because of a song. For the first few years after my grandma’s funeral, there were times I would hear Somewhere Over the Rainbow and break down right there. Once it happened in the middle of dinner at Rubios, it just overcame me. I cannot bring myself to listen to certain songs played at Casey’s funeral like My Life by the Beatles or Ripple by the Grateful Dead because I don’t think I could keep my composure. It’s been a year, but still too soon to hear those ones, too much emotion involved. It’s sad, but beautiful at the same time, that songs and lyrics can bring back memories as if they just happened.

    • Michael Thomas April 18, 2014 at 9:03 am - Reply

      Oh Shasteroo. What a gift it is to have 2 specific songs to give you memory of a brother that will truly never be forgotten. I have a feeling that breaking down isn’t going to go away for a long time, but I’m curious, is it still as painful as the first time you heard them? or after a year are you staring to feel a little bit of happiness in his memory or any relief that he is not in pain?

      • Shasta Cola April 25, 2014 at 4:42 pm - Reply

        It is still as painful, because the year seems to have gone by so fast, many days it feels as if no time has passed at all and suddenly I’ve just fast forwarded into the future. It’s a pretty weird feeling, but yeah, still very very fresh. I know what you mean though, with my grandma I have reached the point of feeling happiness upon thinking of her and knowing she is okay where she is and out of pain. It is hard to imagine feeling that way with Casey now, but I have that to look forward to..

  15. Mark April 17, 2014 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    Michael…thanks for the blog and thanks for the encouragement to stop and listen to the lyrics….I am always thinking about my dad and the song we sang at his funeral was “He Touched Me”…..I have also enjoyed the lyrics of Chris Tomlin…..

    • Michael Thomas April 18, 2014 at 8:58 am - Reply

      Chris Tomlin surely knows the power of lyrics. His music is elegant and meaningful, no matter which song you listen to. I’m glad you have a positive connection between his song and the memories of your father.

  16. Fitz April 18, 2014 at 5:38 am - Reply

    Hey Michael,
    I enjoyed the blog. Thank you. Music certainly invokes emotion. When my mother died back in the mid eighties, there was a Cindy Lauper song “Time after Time” that was popular and always seemed to play when I was giving her rides to radiation treatment. That song has always stuck in my brain. It certainly invoked emotion (initially sad emotions) back then but now when it happens to be played, it brings back fond memories of her. Thanks for sharing.

    • Michael Thomas April 18, 2014 at 8:56 am - Reply

      Thank you for sharing Fitz. That song truly transcends generations, for I’m pretty sure i know all of the lyrics to it and I’m a 90’s kid. knowing it has a special meaning for you will make me think of you and your love for your mom from here on out.

  17. Stacy April 18, 2014 at 9:32 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your experience Michael, great blog! Music definitely stays with every generation and being a lover of music myself, I definitely connect with the things you said in this blog. Music can convey many emotions but ultimately there is a sense of feeling like life continues. A song can cause me to feel sad but once it ends I find myself feeling positive and wanting to move forward with my life from a break down. I love music and it is very healing to me. I can’t imagine life without it! For me, Pink Floyd’s “High Hopes” is one that makes me feel nostalgic and reminds me a lot of my deceased grandfather. I have many childhood memories of him and it takes only a second of my mind recognizing this song is starting with the bells ringing and I get a feeling all throughout and the memories pour in so fast. Tears can be shed but I feel much better after I let all this emotions out. You were very strong to be able to be closely involved in your Uncle Jim’s services and bringing him into our care. Many people wouldn’t be able to do that. Definitely gonna’ check out the song you mention here. Thanks again for sharing!

    • Michael Thomas April 18, 2014 at 11:32 am - Reply

      Thank you Stacy. I loooovvveee Pink Floyd. It always brings a smile to my face to hear it on your playlist 🙂 You have pretty good taste. In fact, I bet you are one of the few people here who could probably beat me at one of my favorite games “finish the lyrics”. Next time you are in the car listening to your iPod or CD, stop the song at a random spot and see if you can finish the lyrics. Its fun, and you get to know who you’re listening to all the more 🙂

  18. Carrie Bayer April 18, 2014 at 10:06 am - Reply

    What an amazing blog, Michael. Thank you for calling attention to the fact that song lyrics are so incredibly powerful in some of life’s most painful moments. I have many favorite songs for the various ups & downs I experience but I find that the punk band Descendents has a song for every situation. They have permanent residency in my car’s CD player & I rely on them quite often. I was introduced to them in 1992 by my dear friend Marco when I broke off my engagement. “Pep Talk” is still one of my favorite songs to this day. Thank you for bringing our awareness of lyrics to the front of our minds- we all will be paying closer attention, I’m positive. Love, Carrie

    • Michael Thomas April 18, 2014 at 11:29 am - Reply

      Thanks Carrie. I am not the biggest Punk fan (more of a folk/alternative kinda guy) but being as the Descendants come highly recommended, I just might have to give them a listen 😉

  19. Jenn April 18, 2014 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    “In Color” by Jamey Johnson always brings a tear to my eye, not only for my grandpa who passed last year but also my grand dad who’s time here on earth is limited. I feel like their memories of the past are so vivid sometimes, they sometimes can’t tell you what they had for breakfast but they can talk for hours about something that happened in 1940 or way back when. I have many memories of going through old black and white photo’s with them and this song just brings it all to heart for me. “A picture’s worth a thousand words, but you can’t see what those shades of gray keep covered… you should have seen it in color.”

    • Michael Thomas April 19, 2014 at 3:48 pm - Reply

      The way you and I connect through music is something I find awesome. You and I can always somehow make a lot of fun when we sing our favorite songs or make fun of the ones we hate. Our relationship is weird. But its Awesome! Thank you for being a wonderful friend and co-worker.

  20. Rosemary April 18, 2014 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Michael, for sharing your experience of your Uncle Jim’s passing. Music and lyrics can be so very powerful in connecting us with the events in our lives. I find it especially amazing that you heard just the song you needed to hear when you put your music on shuffle. Isn’t it wonderful how the right music always seems to find us at just the right time!

    • Michael Thomas April 19, 2014 at 3:39 pm - Reply

      It truly is amazing. The amazing part too is that it had been one of my absolute favorite songs for about a month, and I didn’t really stop to listen to it until that moment. Sure i knew the chorus by heart, and some of the verses, but that was all through repetition. When I really stopped and listened, it all became clear. Thank you Ro-Ro for your dedication and passion in our business.

  21. Amy April 18, 2014 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience with your great uncle Jim and his passing. I often find myself listening to music to both sooth and comfort my soul. Some songs just seem to be so perfect for that very moment. I love your passion and dedication to the families and there overall experience.

    • Michael Thomas April 19, 2014 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      Thank You A-train. Your passion and dedication has set the prime example of how devoted and selfless I can be in this profession. Thank you for teaching me that valuable lesson.

  22. Erin Fodor April 18, 2014 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing Michael, that was a great blog!

    Musical lyrics get me through everyday. Between the different struggles in life at the moment, and the amazing days that shine through. As you know I spend a few hours a day in my car commuting to work, and without the music to get me through I am not sure
    how I’d survive. But it gives me great time to find songs that truly strike a cord with me. One of my absolute favorites that reminds me of my father every time I hear it, is
    Little Red Balloon by Christina Cornel. If it shuffles on my iPod I always take an extra moment just to reminisce and think back to the days when he was around.
    Music is truly a powerful thing.
    Thanks again for sharing.


    • Michael Thomas April 19, 2014 at 3:34 pm - Reply

      Strike a cord. Pun intended? haha I’m glad you can find comfort in those songs that remind you of your daddy. It is so apparent in the way you talk about him how much you love him and appreciated him. And I know, for a fact, if he were here he would be so proud of you. He lives on in Little Red Balloon, and thats awesome because not only can you hear it, but you can see it too. Now, every time I see a little red Balloon, I’m going to think about all of those awesome stories you have told me about him. Thank you. So much.

  23. Lauren April 21, 2014 at 10:00 am - Reply

    What a powerful experience to bring a family member to the mortuary. It brought tears to my eyes reading the moment when you realized your families stubborn love for your uncle and all the things they have done for him, especially towards the end.

    We may find comfort in songs that have subtle references to what we are feeling and going through but the one that is my all time favorite is “Wish You Were Here” by Incubus. I pause every time it plays and I can connect to every bit of the song.

    Thank you for sharing this, Mikey!

    • Michael Thomas April 21, 2014 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      Incubus is a very talented band when it comes to poignant lyrics. They have multiple hits where you don’t just remember the lyrics because its catchy, but because the imagery and meaning behind them is powerful. My favorite song is Anna Molly, obviously a play on the word anomaly, and the imagery is AWESOME. Thanks for the feedback H-bomb. I really appreciate it!

  24. Patricia Kolstad April 21, 2014 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Such a powerful blog, and when I read it the day it posted, I lost my heart in what you wrote and cried. You brought me back to that night as easily as if it had been yesterday and my emotions certainly took over. I am so very proud of you and how you managed to take control over that night and the days ahead. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts of that night, and just how it made you feel. It’s lovely to think that your opinions of your great-uncle will forever be changed by the events that night and the days that came after. There was always music in the house where I grew up. Nana loved all kinds of music and it was her love of Elvis that made him an idol to my brother. I loved all of the music of the 40’s and 50’s and I think that is why all of your aunts are so music oriented as well. My dad had a favorite song . . . and when we would dance in the living room of our small 2 bedroom home, he would sing. Interestingly enough, I’ve purchased several of Diana Krall’s CD’s and that one was on it. It makes me cry every time I listen – I can see myself dancing with my dad and him singing the lyrics. Elvis’s “Love Me” will forever be etched in my mind, along with his rendition of “How Great Thou Art”. Those songs, when heard, will be the ones that will bring my brother in full view. The music of days gone by . . Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Brook Benton will always remind me of my mom.
    Thank you again, Son, for the depth of your blog and your willingness to give to him what he couldn’t give to himself. . . love beneath all of the pain.
    G Pat

    • Michael Thomas April 21, 2014 at 4:41 pm - Reply

      I’m so thankful you introduced me to such a wonderful business. 3 years ago, I would have never dreamed of taking the time to care for Unkie, let alone direct his services. He would have passed away, I would have attended the funeral, and I would have moved on.
      Now I have wonderful memories to remind me of him. Keith’s amazing history of Jim’s life, being led to the graveside via patriot guard, and sharing libations at the lunch afterwards. All in honor of Unk. In honor of the most Stubborn man I have ever met. I love it.
      Listen to the song I talked about a few times. Add it to that impressive list above 🙂

  25. Mitch April 22, 2014 at 9:21 am - Reply

    Some people feel that it would be creepy to help take care of a family member doing what we do, but I feel it is an honor.
    I have, for many years, known the power of music & lyrics. Spiritually they renew me daily.
    I have a lot of respect & amazement for people, through music & lyrics, who can take you to some other time or place. Just by sound. Thank you for your hard work & dedication.

    • Michael Thomas April 22, 2014 at 10:04 pm - Reply

      I owe a lot to you, Mitch. A lot of my successes in this business have come from carefully watching you work and studying your demeanour and poise. It’s truly an honour to call you a co-worker and friend. And our love for music further pushes that relationship to new heights. I thank you, dearly.

  26. Christopher Iverson April 24, 2014 at 2:19 pm - Reply


    Great insight. At services, I never tire of hearing “Over the Rainbow/It’s A Wonderful World.” Also “Time To Say Good-bye” and “My Way.” Songs and musical pieces always hit home as a family remembers and celebrates at a funeral or memorial service. They capture a specific characteristic or era in a person’s life and carries it forward to these who are present to remember.