How a song about a meadowlark reconnected me to my father’s love across the vast and timeless universe.
We had just finished dinner with two old friends we hadn’t seen in years when they invited us to check out their music room. Inside we found a stereophile’s dream–massive speakers, a state-of-the-art turntable and an enviable collection of vinyl records. We sat on lush leather chairs in the center of the room while our host began to play the songs he had selected for the evening. The sound quality was amazing and the notes washed over me as I relaxed into reverie in my cozy chair.
He put an LP on the turntable by Kelley Hunt, an artist I’d never heard before, and not only did her soulful vocals sweep me away, but the words she sang penetrated directly to my heart. I burst into tears when I heard the opening verse:
I′ll be calling you when the meadowlark sings
I’ll be touching you with the warm spring rains
I′ll watch over you like the moon in the sky
For I know love never dies.
Instantly I was carried back in time to the day after my father’s funeral: I had visited his grave with my baby daughter in my arms, completely devastated by his suicide death. I sat on the ground and cried from deep in my gut, releasing all the pain I hadn’t yet been able to express. When my tears were finally exhausted and my sobbing ceased I began to hear the most beautiful sound. A meadowlark was perched on the nearby barbed wire fence that surrounded the cemetery and singing its pretty melody for me over and over again.
I realized then that the bird had been there the entire time, accompanying my weeping with his lovely song. He kept singing to me and didn’t move away, even when I moved closer. The fact that this bird was sitting vigil with me in my grief was significant because the meadowlark had figured prominently in my relationship with my father. When I was growing up we spent nearly every weekend fishing, hiking or picnicking out in the Wyoming countryside, and there always seemed to be a meadowlark present wherever we went. Dad would whistle the song perfectly as we stopped to listen for a response. And on my first trip back to our family cabin after Dad’s death, it was not a coincidence that I was greeted by a meadowlark singing on the deck. This nondescript bird with its haunting tune symbolized the unspoken bond between me and Dad–often shy and fleeting, but filled with love.
So on that special evening as I listened to Kelley Hunt singing those words that seemed to have been written just for me I marveled at the synchronicities of life. How a friend I hadn’t seen for years–who didn’t even know my story–had selected a song that reached into the core of my being and reconnected me to Dad’s love, healing old remnants of my grief and lifting me to a state of profound joy. Love never dies. In fact it radiates around and through us perpetually, connecting us to one another with unseen threads across time and space and all boundaries. I’ve known this and written about it over and over again ever since that day by Dad’s grave: love is what really matters. And Kelley wrote a song about a meadowlark singing and my friend and I discovered that we are connected to one another in our grief and to Kelley Hunt in our knowledge that love will always find us, wherever we are.
Though the winds may blow And scatter all our faith and our hope Only one thing really matters And that's love ... that's love Kelley Hunt: Love Never Dies