My husband and I recently celebrated 15 years of marriage. 15 years! There was a time when I wasn’t even sure I would ever get married. And I bet a lot of people who know me would tell you they were surprised when I settled down. I admit, I had commitment issues. Some of it was my attraction to emotionally unavailable people. But some of it was my own emotional unavailability, which no doubt stemmed from my parent’s divorce.
I was young when my parents’ marriage fell apart, and it was very difficult for me, as it is for most children. It doesn’t matter if your parents tell you they love you and it’s not your fault, etc, etc… You still feel a sense of betrayal and grief. And there will always be a part of you that doubts the existence and/or viability of love. For a long time, I did. The irony is that I was also a hopeless romantic. You can see how that contradiction could cause me so much trouble and heartache.
But this isn’t about my heartache. It’s more about my parents. See, my parents influenced my eclectic taste in music. And they are both romantics at heart, even though they built up hardened exteriors.
So, I have this vague memory of one of them telling me the song “You Were Always on My Mind,” reminded them of the other. I don’t know if this actually happened, or if my young mind played tricks on me. They say memory is unreliable, and I wouldn’t be shocked to discover that I was just grasping for straws of hope, wanting to believe that somehow, someway, my parents would find a way to reconcile and my family would be magically put back together.
There are a few different versions of the song. Elvis Presley’s is no doubt an American favorite. But when I think of my parents, I think of Willie Nelson. I honestly don’t remember if it was my father or my mother who first introduced me to his music, but I fell in love with it. And his version of “You Were Always on My Mind,” cuts to the core every time. There is just something raw and gritty about it. Something about the simplicity of it that allows the emotions to come through. All the pain and heartache and regret and longing. And I can’t help but experience all those emotions myself every time I hear the song.
My parents didn’t reconcile. But I like to think they still have love for each other, somewhere deep in the dark corners of their hearts, that they still think about each other from time to time. It’s the hopeless romantic in me I guess. And what do hopeless romantics do but listen to hopelessly romantic songs?
(Song recommendation by Lisa Lloyd Weber)