Friday, July 15, 2011

Why Katy Perry makes me cry

(This is a Lily post, and it has the word "cry" in the title.  Sooooo... you've been warned.)

Easter 2010, I flew to Nashville to (as I put it) spend Easter with my seester.
She'd just begun chemo therapy, and the family was trying to provide tag team care for her.
That had been my week.

One Tennesee morning during breakfast, Lily's daughter and I were verbally sparring when I won the argument by reciting Katy Perry song lyrics to her.  "You change your mind like a girl changes clothes..."
"How do you know that song?"  (You, meaning an old person.)
"I dunno."
"Oo," said Lily to her daughter, "maybe she knows Ke$ha."
Daughter then asked me, "Do you know Ke$ha?"
"Who's Ke$ha?"

Ke$ha, they told me, is a pop star who had attended the same high school Lily's daughter was currently attending.
"Blah, blah, blah?" Lily asked me.
"Nope.  She doesn't know."

Well, Ke$ha or not, I felt a little like the "cool" aunt because I at least knew one Katy Perry song and its lyrics. What I hadn't explained to either of them was the reason I'd been listening to radio stations that play artists like Katy Perry.

The timeline is a little blurry for me, but ever since Lily had called with the news of her cancer, I had begun searching for music that was more cheerful. Too many of the musical selections my usual radio stations played were softer rock, and they played crappy songs like the one about the tumor patient who hoped everyone got the chance to live like they were dying. Yeah. That's a great sentiment. You know who likes those kinds of songs? People who aren't dying.
And people whose sisters aren't.

I needed to listen to something else. So, I scanned my radio for stations that would never play that particular song.  I searched out music that would simultaneously pound all thought out of my head and kick my ass.  Slowly I became familiar with artists I'd never heard before. I borrowed Lady GaGa CDs from the library because I'd heard of her and wanted to see what she sounded like. With the discovery of a young man named Enrique Iglesias, my inner cougar started to growl.  Pink had the most delightful combination of anger and snark.  (I didn't truly fall in love with Ke$ha until her song Blow was featured on a Monday evening episode of "Chuck" this year.)

Somewhere along the line (perhaps it aired after Lily had died), I caught a bit of the TV show Glee and was captured by a song. 
"Hey, I like this song," I said to no one in particular.
It was Firework by Katy Perry.  It was beautiful.  I more than liked it; I embraced it.

For many days, perhaps weeks, I loved that song.  Poked around on my scanner constantly while I drove in case it was playing on another station.  Then one day at work, when no one was looking, I thought I'd treat myself to a little sneak peek of its video on YouTube.  Yay!  My song!
If you've seen the video, and you've realized how devastating my year had been with Lily's cancer and Mom's death, you'd have begged me to stop watching.  You'd have thrown yourself between me and the screen.  Because once the little girl with the chemo bald head appeared, I lost it.  I burst into tears right there at work.

"Do you ever feel already buried deep?
Six feet under screams, but no one seems to hear a thing.
Do you know that there's still a chance for you?"

Everytime I heard the song on my drive to or from work after that, it moved me to loud wailing tears.

I still loved it.
But it was so much more a Lily song now than it would ever be my song ever again.
I wondered if I'd be able to watch fireworks on the 4th of July without thinking of my sister.
And I realized it wouldn't be such a bad think, really.

Even though I've been contemplating Katy Perry and my sister a lot over the last few months, it seemed appropriate to share this particular thought with you today... on what should have been Lily's 50th birthday.

Just days after the entire country lit the skies with fireworks.


Dani said...

Happy birthday Lily.

And for Roses <> (pats back).

Dani said...

Umm that published weird. It's suposed to say "Hug" (pats back). Maybe <> is arms.

Thumper said...

I think it's really, really cool that you now have a Lily song... And today is national ice cream day, so that's totally a sign to celebrate her 50th birthday.


and Happy Birthday to Lily :)

vw bug said...

Happy Birthday to Lily and the warmest of thoughts your way.

Bou said...

I didn't realize that song was Firework. I'm not very good about lyrics, but when I hear a song that has a happy beat, I'll turn it up. That's been on of those songs I turn up. Katy Perry just has happy stuff... I started listening to her during the Elmo deal. Her music is just... fun.

So this will now forever be Lily's song when I hear it. I'll think of her every time it comes on.

Moogie P said...

What a lovely memory, and segue into Lily's song.

Happy birthday to Lily! And a happy Lily's birthday to you.

Mrs. Who said...

*hugs* And happy birthday, Lily. May you be singing a happy song...