The Cranberries and Mortality

I introduced my kids to the song "Zombie" by the Cranberries the other day. I couldn't have sung the song last week, but as soon as I heard the melody it all came back, not just the lyrics but every inflection and guitar run. And for some reason, it meant much to me that the children just sat and listened. They enjoyed it, somehow certifying that it was a song worth hearing, worth knowing. And when Charlotte noted that the singer was yodeling with no hint of humor or bashing, I simply nodded. Actually, I didn't even know she knew the word "yodel."

The Cranberries were popular at a time when music felt incredibly significant to me. So significant, it seems near-ridiculous now. I would listen constantly, often singing out as loud as I could, blasting multiple players at once. I would wear headphones to bed and feel the music, physically and emotionally, especially as I hovered around light sleep. I can't do that anymore. My emotions haven't worked that way for a while now. They were Sonys, cost me $20.

It was as if they all-of-a-sudden realized I was mortal. Fear and silence, naturally, followed, but both were short-lived.

I bring up the Cranberries because the lead singer, Dolores O'Riordan, passed away suddenly this week. Often, people think of celebrities as something-other-than human, but they're not. An artist is a person we know, and when they die, someone we knew has died. It matters; they matter. When I told my children about O'Riordan, that she was a singer, that she passed, that she was 46, they were quiet for a minute as if surprised by something. I hadn't anticipated the obvious connection they might make between my age and hers. It was as if they all-of-a-sudden realized I was mortal. Fear and silence, naturally, followed, but both were short-lived.

I ought to end with some conclusion I've drawn. I should say something profound about grief and hope and hopefulness and hopelessness.

Dolores O'Riordan was beautiful; she sang beautifully. That is essentially all I knew of her, and it is enough to mourn.