(Days ago, I decided I’d not post anything more about my son, especially on Facebook, but here I am again. FYI: I’m not looking for sympathy when I post; I’m simply keeping his memory alive. For the world, I guess. Not for me; I’ll never forget him. He’s last on my mind at night, first on my mind in the morning. For certain, though, I’m giving up writing/posting a poem every month on the 11th, the day of his death. I have no new words to say, really.)
This morning, I was in the drive-thru at McDonald’s and heard a song that resonated. The climate control was on the dash screen as I had just adjusted the heat, so I couldn’t see the title or the artist. My eyes welled listening to words that described my feelings, words I wished I had written.
I switched the controls back to the radio and was stunned to see the artist Chris Stapleton flash across the screen. Uncontrollable tears streamed down my face at seeing his name. One of his songs had been played at my son’s funeral last year, and I immediately figured it must have been this song, “Broken Halos,” because it was so apropos.
I had never heard of Stapleton until Matt’s funeral. Several songs were played, and I don’t remember any of them. The funeral was a fog at the time and still remains a dark cloud, so I could have heard Christmas music and not known—or cared.
I don’t know how I continued through the drive-thru. I can’t imagine what the woman taking my money and the guy handing me my order must have thought. I usually wear sunglasses to hide my tears, but the morning was dark, dreary, and rainy; perhaps it was too dark for them to notice. I rushed through my errand, managing to control the rest of my tears until I got back in the car.
When I got home, I called my daughter. We commiserate often, both of us still having a hard time dealing with Matt’s death. I barely got one sentence out of my mouth before she said, “That was Chris Stapleton and ‘Broken Halos,’ wasn’t it?” She’d been hearing the song for the past several months and kept meaning to tell me about it.
“Was that the one at his funeral?” I asked.
She said no, that “Fire Away” had been played at his funeral, probably because he was a hunter, but she agreed with me that “Broken Halos” would have been more appropriate.
“Folded wings that used to fly
They’ve all gone wherever they go
Broken halos that used to shine”