My love for The Eagles and Glenn Frey, like most of us who grew up in that era, runs deep. But I’ve found that everyone’s personal connection to music is different, and often intimate. Surprisingly, my love for The Eagles came from my Uncle Allan who was also a fan. Here’s the backstory and one that I think many of you may be able to resonate with.
Everyone processes grief differently, of course. When Viv and I lost our parents, I sort of instantly jumped into the parental frame-of-mind because of my sister being younger and needing to be consoled more than I did. I was still slammed with pain, anger, sadness, and loss, but I was so focused on how Vivienne was processing and managing everything that all of my feelings were put behind a curtain for a bit. A sheer curtain, but put aside nonetheless. Then, my uncle Allan came to California to help both Viv and I sort through everything, and it was like I relived it all over again, starting from scratch because I now had someone I could confide in, someone to ask me if I was okay, and someone I loved and respected who knew what I was going through. My uncle, known for being an incredible author and mentor (to Kate, as well as hundreds of others), was smart but unconventional. So, it should not have come as a surprise when he suggested, during the week we buried my parents, that he take me to see The Eagles play live. You may be wondering, “Who would do such a thing? Taking in a rock concert during such a solemn and disorienting time…” Well, it turns out, it was the best form of therapy I could have received. The moment that the first note of Desperado dangled in the air, I was comforted with this melodic and deep emotional healing. “….your prison is walking through this world all alone…” And so that night continued, my listening, FEELING the lyrics with the strum and vibration of the bass, the soulful melodies from Glenn Frey and Don Henley and finally connecting to my grief, but in a way I’ll be grateful for always.
So, with all my memories of that concert intertwined with my parents’ deaths and my Uncle Allan, The Eagles, who are the core of many of my fellow Southern Californians’ souls, have this grip on the way I cope. Whenever I’m feeling like things are spinning out of control or I’ve hit some slump, without even consciously thinking about it, I put The Eagles on repeat on my iPod. When Kate knocked the wind out of me and left me, the first song I played was Best of My Love. When my dear Uncle Allan passed away, I listened first to Take it to the Limit, because that’s what my uncle did with his brilliant writing.
When I heard of Glenn Frey’s passing, I knew it was the end of an era. An important and monumental era. One that could not be repeated like my Eagles playlist when I’m so in need of feeling grounded and safe. Glenn Frey will never, and should not ever, be replaced. Thanks, Glenn for the music and the memories. I suspect you’re in Heaven, playing The New Kid in Town. I know you’ll rock it there as you did here on Earth.
Music is so powerful, with a few chords it can bring you right back to a place and time you’d long forgotten. It can also help us heal and sometimes even forget – if only for a little while.
“If there’s a rock and roll heaven then you know they got one hell of a band. If you believe in forever then life is just a one night stand.”