I Need a Backbone

I Need a Backbone


In September of 2015, I lost my dad suddenly. If you've known me for a while, you'll know I talk a lot about it. I often get connected to people who have experienced the sudden loss or loss of a parent at an early age — sometimes it feels like I should wear a name tag and say, 'I lost my dad early on,' but honestly, I get connected to people and all the sudden we find out we share this experience. 

It's a weird badge of honor.

The day he passed, I picked up a journal and wrote only the word 'backbone'. I don't know what it meant, but it took me 8 years to write the song. Grief doesn't have a linear path.

What I learned in the space between then and now might be summed up in a song on my new album called BACKBONE, but that song isn't out yet, so I'll try and make a list to easily communicate this.

  1. Don't go to bed withholding an 'I love you' or a 'thanks' for helping me with this complex question.
  2. What you think you will grieve, you probably won't… and what you don't think you'll grieve will haunt you.
  3. There are no clear steps to grief. Anxiety and depression are like pimples that will just appear and ruin your picture. 
  4. OR you can just embrace the pimples as fashion and know that you're not alone
  5. There will be lots of people who won't know what to say to you, and that is ok. It is not their journey to figure out your grief.
  6. But there will be lots of people who will hold space for you, who will hold your dog while you travel to/from home to figure out funeral arrangements... while you have to figure out how to sell a dead person's car and figure out their unpaid taxes. And those are the friends that will matter.
  7. I wish that it wasn't true, but the only thing certain is 'death & taxes' and just know that and maybe help your parents get it together sooner or have an understanding of it… this is a sensitive issue, but it is also true.
  8. There is no correct way to grieve. There is only your journey with it.
  9. While there will be other family members who will grieve, I sometimes describe it as you're all on the same Mario Kart course, but the make/model of your vehicle and how you drive will be so different, so I would just try and give grace. You won't grieve the same as your sibling, and that's ok… but you can find a lot of ways through it together. 
  10. If you are scared of death.. you aren't alone. Maybe talk about it with your friends. My partner and I are starting an 'existential supper club' for these kinds of daunting questions. 
  11. I wish grief were sexy and cool and talked about and embraced.. but it is not yet. Be the change there... talk about the hard stuff. It will lighten over time.

With love,


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