If sadness was a song

“We all process grief differently. Some write letters, poetry, or cry uncontrollably listening to sad music.” 

My friend Mariah is a wise one. 

Last year, after my father’s funeral, I thought I was done processing my sadness. I thought I had cried enough during the whole dying process. I thought I had said good bye and made sense of my pain. 

See, my father’s illness lasted for about 5 years. He spent so much time in the hospital that I felt a tug in my heart every time we took him to the ER. My mother and I would simply look at each other and offer a hug in comfort. Every time we saw him in a hospital bed, we thought it was time to say our goodbyes. 

A few months after my final farewell, I played his favorite music. I listened to the same album about twenty times, as if by listening to his music and remembering the things he liked I would get one last piece of him. 

If you’ve ever been heart-broken, you would know what the process of moving on is like. You take two steps forward and five back. You find yourself wanting to call only to realize that there won’t be an answer. 

“I want to show how I feel my sadness.” I told Mariah. The feelings were burning inside of me, like prisoners desperately waiting to be released. 

I played La llorona on my phone for her. If I liked tequila, I would have worn down the song from listening so much to it. If my sadness was a song, I told her, that would be it. We played it a few more times, as I braided flowers in her red hair and wrapped a rebozo around her ams. In my mind, my sadness looked like a Frida Kahlo painting, screaming at the viewer with color. In my mind, sadness was a barefoot woman dressed in a rebozo and adorned with bright flowers in her hair. In my mind, sadness was a sad huapango song that you can still dance to. 

Exactly a year ago, today, we headed to El Tiradito shrine and my grief took shape and form. The images below are the result of my inspiration, Mariah’s wonderful contribution, and something that had been waiting to be created.