I know that is a huge statement to make. Trust me, though. After the past few years, I was barely hanging on. How does Pink fit into this? Let me go back to the first time her music made a big difference during a dark time.
In the spring of 2010 I was thrown into a very dark period in my life. People I thought were friends turned on me in a vicious and cruel way. I was quickly on my way to a complete breakdown. I felt so alone. (Spoiler: These wanna-be important women turning on me and making me the odd mom out and banished from the PTA was one of the best things to happen to me. Not fitting with most of those women became the cornerstone of discovering who I really was and who I absolutely did not want to be.)
While I was trying to pick myself up, my Dad called me and told me my sister, Michelle, was in the ER because she was literally having a nervous breakdown. I “rescheduled” my own issues to be there for her. That became the summer I went to live with her for a month. I took two of my kids with me to hang out with their cousins so I could focus on my sister. It was so hard to reach her. Her husband wasn’t there because they were separating. That was a huge catalyst for her pain.
One afternoon while we were lying in her bed, scrolling on our phones, I came across Pink’s video of “So What” and began to crack up. My sister looked over and wanted to watch it. For the first time since I had come to stay, she started to laugh. A real laugh. Her comments had me cracking up. “Whaaaat? oh my gawd, is she on a tractor? Ohhhhhhh no … eggs for the newlyweds.” And she laughed and laughed. We watched that video over and over just so she would feel good and laugh. Thus began our tradition of sending videos, song lyrics, and new songs to each other.
As a writer, I am a lover of words. But sometimes? Sometimes it’s just hard to find the right ones. Pink said it all in so many ways. One of us would be feeling down about ourselves, “F*cking Perfect” was a go-to. Mad at the men in our lives? “True Love” hit the spot. Getting pumped up for a night out? “Get the Party Started.” You get the idea. this went on for years. From Pink’s earliest albums to Beautiful Trauma, there was a song for everything we could possibly want to share. It was just our thing. When I would get a text or email from her, there was a good chance there was a song lyric in it. I did the same for her.
Eleven days before “Hurts 2B Human” was released in 2019, my sister lost her battle with depression and took her own life.
I knew she was gone before I was told. I felt it. There isn’t a word for losing a sibling. You just lose a part of your history. I lost my best friend. I doubled down taking care of everyone I could. I didn’t want to feel what I knew I would feel if I let myself open up. Then I heard “Hurts2B Human” and the songs that would play to heal me for the first time.
I wanted to send it to her. I wanted to scream that, yes, it does hurt to be human. For all of us. But I couldn’t. She left me. And I felt broken and alone.
God, it hurts to be human
Without you, I’d be losing
And someday, we’ll face the music
God, it hurts to be human
So many of the songs and lyrics on that album hit.
“So can we pretend that I’m 22 today?
Dancin’ on the tables with you, oh yeah
Can we pretend that we all end up okay?
I just wanna forget with you, oh yeah”
When I think of Michelle, I don’t think of how she died but how she lived. She was funny, outgoing, and beautiful. She didn’t care what other people thought of her. She knew who she was. To me? She was my hero. I trailed her around for as long as I could remember. She was my big sister and in my eyes, she could do no wrong.
Until she left me.
I don’t think I really faced my grief until my Daddy passed away 2 years later. It was too much to feel but impossible to not feel it all. I lost my words. I stopped writing and gave up on my writing dreams. I had lost the lyrics to my own life.
One day I eagerly clicked on Pink’s new song “When I Get There.” I was not prepared. I cried and made sounds that were barely human. It was all the grief from losing my Mom years ago, my big sister a few years before, and my Daddy. As I’m sure many people feel, I felt it was written for me. That my sister was giving me a heavenly wink. I do imagine her sitting up there (somewhere) with my Mom and Daddy chatting it up and watching the sunset. Always with a margarita in her hand and laughter over the silly things that get blown out of proportion.
Is there a bar up there
Where you’ve got a favorite chair
Where you sit with friends
And talk about the weather?
Is there a place you go
To watch the sunset and oh
Is there a song you just can’t wait to share?
Yeah I know you’ll tell me when I get there
Every time I hear that song I cry. I miss her so much. I miss my parents. And I am sure they are with me, just not in the way I want them to be.
Not too long ago I went to a very dark place. A very dark place. I wanted to be with my sister and parents. I didn’t know how to do “life” anymore. I didn’t think I wanted to do it anymore. I didn’t tell anyone how dark it got. I was searching for a reason to stay. I had so many right in front of me with my husband and three kids. But? I thought they would be okay.
As I sat in my car in the park one evening I really listened to “Turbulence” and what it said.
When you say that you can’t
I will watch you dance through this turbulence
I felt that. I mean, I really felt that. It was as if I could picture my sister telling me she is watching me and she will dance with me through the panic, and dark times, and when I feel like my life is crashing.
So when it hits, don’t forget
As scary as it gets, it’s just turbulence
It’s just turbulence.
At that moment I knew I couldn’t leave my husband and (grown) babies. The feelings were temporary. I had a group in heaven watching and ready to watch me dance through this turbulence. That they were there to celebrate the good and love me from heaven through the bad.
That song. That moment. Those lyrics literally saved my life that day.
Now I don’t know if Pink will ever see this or know the story of my sister and I sharing love, support, and laughter through her lyrics. Nor will I know if Pink will ever know the power her songs have for her fans. I hope so. She should know that they are more than just hit songs. They can change lives. From “So What” to “When I Get There” to “Turbulence” and more, they touch lives in the deepest way.
So to Pink, thank you for the music and for a connection to Michelle and my mom, and my Daddy. You saved me.