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The Song That Changed Your Life: Picks

Life is a Song, Love is the Music by Pamela Dillon

October - is my favourite month of the year. It brings the glorious changes of colour as the trees shed their leaves, the cooler air and occasional thunderstorm, reminders of the transformation to come. It is also the month of my wedding anniversary - October 31st. Jim and I eloped 38 years ago. That summer, we met on a blind date and fell wildly in love. On our first evening together we went to a music store. Jim bought an eight-track tape of a band I loved. He played it while we drove to Waterloo Park for a stroll. One week after we started dating Jim asked me to marry him. I did. 

Music was the soul of our life together. Each morning I woke to the sound of Jim singing. He sang in the shower and while getting dressed.

Unique songs that were often about me, he rarely remembered the actual words to a song. The music was like a backdrop, the real lyrics unimportant. He sang in that beautiful voice, for the love of music and of me.

After Jim’s biopsy and diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumour in 2009, he no longer sang in the morning. He no longer remembered that he once sang every single day. It was as if all of the music inside of him was gone. It was the most heartbreaking part of starting the day. The silence.

  Many mornings I drove Jim to the hospital for radiation treatment. Often on our drive Jim fell asleep, so I didn’t have the music on. This particular morning he was quietly sitting beside me, fully awake and looking out the window as the farmers’ fields passed by. I commented on the way the leaves were changing. Soon his treatments would be done.

Jim began to hum softly. I couldn't believe it! Then he began to sing. I took a detour through the city just so I could hear his voice. He sang the entire way to the hospital, in that melodic voice that started every morning since we married. The song he sang was the most surprising thing of all. It was the melody to the song Only love can break your heart”, and he remembered every word. 

Jim died 13 months later. 

I will remember this moment and this song for the rest of my life.

Pamela Dillon is from Conestogo, ON

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