Wednesday, July 20, 2005

"Dance with My Father"

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Yesterday, David Bogner of Treppenwitz had a wonderful post that inspired lots of comments. The post was about sad and depressing song lyrics, and the commenters -- myself included -- offered up a (vocal) range of some very sad, sad lyrics, by both familiar artists and some not-so-familiar ones.

This song, by the recently deceased singer-songwriter Luther Vandross, touches a lot of nerves. It's based on his personal story, but if you listen to it, you can apply the lyrics to yourselves. Hopefully all of you have fathers who are alive and well, with whom you can interact and still be your father's son or daughter. Or perhaps some of you have fathers with whom you have little or no contact for whatever reasons or grievances you share about past personal history. At some point in your life, you'll think about your father, your relationship with him and you'll pine (if only in a small corner of your heart) for what you once had together. Or at least I hope that will be the case. I hope it's never too late for you.

I am my father's daughter, I adore and honor him, and I am more than pleased to be able to dance with him. This morning, while driving into work, I was stopped at a red light. The light was opposite a local hospital where, two years ago during the SARS crisis, my father was taken by ambulance, and was lying unconcious in the ICU ward for several days. We thought he'd never come home again. We thank G-d that he did...and that I've been able to dance with him ever since.

Thank you, Luther, for writing such a beautiful song. May you rest in peace...

Dance with My Father -- Luther Vandross

Back when I was a child, before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high and dance with my mother and me and then
Spin me around 'til I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure I was loved
If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him
I'd play a song that would never, ever end

How I'd love, love, love
To dance with my father again
When I and my mother would disagree
To get my way, I would run from her to him
He'd make me laugh just to comfort me
Then finally make me do just what my mama said
Later that night when I was asleep
He left a dollar under my sheet
Never dreamed that he would be gone from me
If I could steal one final glance, one final step, one final dance with him
I'd play a song that would never, ever end

'Cause I'd love, love, love
To dance with my father again
Sometimes I'd listen outside her door
And I'd hear how my mother cried for him
I pray for her even more than me
I pray for her even more than me
I know I'm praying for much too much
But could you send back the only man she loved
I know you don't do it usually
But dear Lord she's dying
To dance with my father again
Every night I fall asleep and this is all I ever dream


Lance said...

I am definitely my father's son. I was reminded many times from my Mom, obm, that I took after him.

I lost my dad during my senior year of high school. Here I was becoming frum...and my world was torn apart. I credit my mental strength to persevere from my Dad. Without it I would have fallen apart.

Dindel said...

I can’t relate due to the fact that I was never close with my father. I was and still am, "my mommies little girl". Spoiled rotten. But that doesn’t take away from the song. One night when I was listening to I had that lump in my throat as if I was going to ball out crying. I felt like I was cheated out of having a father. I grew up in the same house as him for 15 yrs. Though, I had no Idea who he was.
Anyway it is a really nice song.
Was that a little too personal?

torontopearl said...

It's as personal as you deem it to be... But it is most poignant in that you summarize some families' lives: you live with a person for so many years, but don't really KNOW them.
Thank you for sharing your story.

I answered you with a personal note, but the sentiments publicly are the same: sorry about your father's passing away at that impressionable time in your life, and the hole it created. May his memory be for a blessing.

Rochelle said...

A truly poignant song, Pearl. It brought back memories of my dad, of blessed memory. One of my last memories: He was frail and was suffering from macular degeneration. I was helping him up from his chair, and he put his arms around me and told me, in Yiddish, "We'll still dance, Rochelle."

But we never did...

torontopearl said...

It truly is a sad song, Rochelle, holding so much meaning.

I'm sorry that you didn't get to share that promised dance with your father.

Hopefully he and you shared a dance or two earlier in life, and that those dances linger in your memory...and heart.

cruisin-mom said...

I used to stand on my dad's feet, while we wrapped our arms around eachother to dance. He died when I was 10, so I never knew what it was like to dance with him as a teenager or adult. That song just about did me in the first time I heard it. But those memories warm my heart.

torontopearl said...

I'm also familiar with the "stand-on-your-parents'" feet to dance, or "embed yourself between them" as they dance. In my childish eyes, it was a matter of "the more, the merrier".

Glad you have good memories, at least.

BTW, Cruisin-Mom, did you ever get my 2 e-mails after all? I've gotten messages that they're "delayed." Annoying...!

As well, you can come visit, but be sure to bring the bagels you promised!!!

cruisin-mom said...

Pearl...never received the emails...I can't understand what the problem is...try again...and I'll bring the lox too...after a few hours on a plane,that's a smell that's sure to make me alot of new friends! lol

Rachel said...

I LOVE THAT SONG. I think Richard Marx helped write it too (who I also admire), but I could be wrong.

THanks for posting about it!!

Have a good Shabbos!!

Rachel :)