I remember the feeling of having her ripped out of my life forever. Walking into the funeral home made me numb…hopeless knowing my grandmother had gone away. I was 12 and had experienced death for the very first time. My innocence had disappeared at the thought of my Gran killing her lungs from years of smoking cigarettes. My faith in God and the universe disappeared, for a while, when I realized good people get taken from this world and one day it would be my turn too.

I don’t know if this will sound cliche or not but…the only thing that ever made me feel calm at the thought of my Gran’s death was music. It’s amazing what each unique melody and message can do to a person and what it did to me. Heartbreak. Redemption. Love. Loss. Pure emotion seeps through every lyric, whether it was rap when I felt angry and resentful, to soft jazz that made me reminisce about the good old days; music was and continues to be my escape.

Each song is a backstory of honesty, truth, and feeling which cannot be expressed in any other way. I clutch to 90s alternative rock because the storytelling and relatability of each beat gives me peace during times I feel completely and utterly alone.

I close my eyes and I see her within every song; I can hear her through each message, her smile, her laugh, her tears, and eventually her death. I can’t help but think of her or create a story in my head with every song. Sometimes I close my eyes and see a couple separated by distance, other times I imagine another world with magic, life, and love.

I don’t mean to make this seem dark, talking about death, but I’m trying to make a point. After I experienced true loss, a world of magic was opened up to me…I turned to reading, writing, and most importantly music. The music helped me heal, it made me stronger, and sometimes served as a portal back in time; to a time when I was young and naive and happy in my grandmother’s arms.

I close my eyes and I see beautiful, majestic scenes of true nature and beauty… I close my eyes and I see death looking back at me. I close my eyes and I see fear overcome me. I close my eyes and I see her. Gran and her teacup collection. Gran and her black Malibu. Gran and her books she could never put down. Gran and her apartment which smelt of perfume and cigarettes, a scent I could not help but love. The soft melodies taking me to a better place, away from the bad, and to a land of harmony and tranquility.  

It feels as though she never existed sometimes, like her life is nothing but a distant dream. My memories fade of her each passing day, but I can see her now; because I know she’s there, watching me, listening to me, existing in the crevices of my earbuds.