Tim Tunes

2-9 The Lighter Side of Death and Dying

April 01, 2022 Tim Rose Season 2 Episode 9
Tim Tunes
2-9 The Lighter Side of Death and Dying
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Although dying is something that all of us will do, few have lived to talk about it. We don’t like to talk about it in any meaningful way except to say, I hope I, you, they, them, don’t die. So much of our time is spent avoiding death that we never really examine it. It’s like were driving down the road of life with a blindfold on.

Humor is one way of dealing with, slash, avoiding grief. So, it’s not surprising to find grief and humor all mixed together 

Hi. I’m Tim Rose and this is the Tim Tunes pod cast. In this episode we’ll cover three songs on death and dying – the first song is a jazzy vocal that looks at grief from an Elizabeth Kubler-Ross perspective, the next song looks at dying from the perspective of the person who is dying, and the last song gives us advice on what to do when we feel that death is funny.

This episode is also a fund raiser for “The Voices of Hope” a Boston based group that I perform with from time to time to raise money develop cures for cancer. Please give if you can at https://www.vohboston.org/how-to-help/

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[Intro]

[Intro Theme – Motor]

 Although dying is something that all of us will do, few have lived to talk about it. We don’t like to talk about it in any meaningful way except to say, I hope I, you, they, them, don’t die. So much of our time is spent avoiding death that we never really examine it. It’s like were driving down the road of life with a blindfold on.

Personally, I blame grief. All of us have felt grief to some degree, but if you’ve never felt that gut-wrenching, life-changing, hard-core grief that comes from the death of a loved one, you’re just a grief tourist. If you have experienced it, you know that it’s not something you want to experience if it can be avoided.

 Grief is very persistent. It doesn’t care if you think you are done with it. It will find you in the most unusual situations and at the most inconvenient time. The only way to deal with grief is to go through it. You can’t go around it and you can’t ignore it. Thankfully, over time, grief lessens. In some cases, it never completely goes away.

 Humor is one way of dealing with, slash, avoiding grief. So, it’s not surprising to find grief and humor all mixed together 

 [Pod Lick]

 Hi. I’m Tim Rose and this is the Tim Tunes pod cast. In this episode we’ll cover three songs on death and dying – the first song is a jazzy vocal that looks at grief from an Elizabeth Kubler-Ross perspective, the next song looks at dying from the perspective of the person who is dying, and the last song gives us advice on what to do when we feel that death is funny.

 All this episode’s songs were written for “The Waiting Room” my musical about our experiences in traversing the US medical system. As such, this episode is also a fund raiser for “The Voices of Hope” a Boston based group that I perform with from time to time to raise money develop cures for cancer. Please give if you can at Voicesofhope-boston.com.

 [Pod Lick – Big D]


[DABDA]

In the early days of writing my musical “The Waiting Room”, I was just casting about trying to come up with some kind of framework to hang the music around and a story to go with the music when I remembered about Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ 5 stages of grief. So, I decided to use it as a mechanism to start creating the songs for the musical. 

 This song DABDA is about those five stages - Denial, Anger Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. I used this song as an exposition device to explain about the emotional stages that people go through. I used a Jazz vocal quartet because, well, with Jazz you can sing about anything. The song gives a one- or two-line definition or comment on each of the stages and the chorus is based around the DABDA acronym. In the story of the show, one of the clinic worker characters is trying to explain to another what people go through in their grieving process.

 [Podlick] 

 I recorded this for the musical demo track in my studio around 2011. I wrote and recorded all the tracks myself. Give a listen now to DABDA 

 [Play Song – DABDA]

Bm                                               E9                                                                                                            INTRO
Dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da
Bm                                                E9         F#7/#9
Dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, Dab  -    da!

Bm      E9       Bm            E9   Bm  E9  Bm                          E9    F#                                                    CHORUS 1
Denial, Anger, Bargaining,                    Depression, Acceptance, Ah!

Bm7                                                  E9                                                                                                                  VERSE 1
At first I couldn’t believe what was happening to me
Bm7                                             E9
I was watching myself like I was dreaming
Bm7                             E9
But pretty soon friend reality set in
Bm7                                           E9               F#7/#9
And that’s when I really started screamin’
               E9                     Em7
I blamed everybody and everything
Bm7          Bm6          Bm5+          Bm
Man I was really burned
                 G7                           F#7
But it was all to no effect, so I decided what the heck
G7                                      F#7      F#7/#9
This is not the life that I’ve earned

Bm7     E9        Bm7        E9 D#9 E9   Bm7      E9  Bm7        E9 F#                                    CHORUS 2
Denial, Anger, Bargaining,                   Depression, Acceptance  Ah

Bm7                                               E9                                                                                                              BRIDGE
Dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da
Bm7                                               E9          F#7/#9
Dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, Dab  -    da!

Bm7                                                     E9                                                                                                         VERSE
I’d would have given any thing not to be where I was
                        Bm7                                   E9  Eb9 E9
But there was no way I could buy my way out 
            Bm7                                       E9
I made promise after promise to the Lord up above
             Bm7                                E9
It didn’t matter whether I would pray or shout
         E7                      Em7
I lost everybody and everything
Bm7           Bm6       Bm5#      Bm
Man, I was really all alone
            G7                                            F#7
When I finally got my fate, although it didn’t feel that great
    G7                                 F#7          F#7/#9
At least all of my changes were done

Bm7       E9        Bm7    E9 D#9 E9   Bm7         E9  Bm7         E9 F#                                 CHORUS 3
Denial, Anger, Bargaining,                  Depression,  Acceptance, Ah

Bm                                               E9                                                                                                             ENDING
Dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da
Bm                                               E9         
Dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, dab-da, Dab  -    da!

 

[Pod Lick]

 [Let Me Go]

As I was working on “The Waiting Room” I knew I had reached a point where I needed a song about acceptance. What does that mean anyway? To accept that you were going to die just seems too foreign to most of us. I felt that the song had to be uplifting yet not lose the sense of loss that comes with grief.

 

I decided to have one of the characters, Sam, who is wheelchair bound and not conscious of their surroundings, magically come back to life in the dream of, Kai, that character’s caretaker and partner. So, Kai dreams that there is a final moment of clarity from Sam before the end. In that moment of clarity, Sam has accepted the end and is encouraging Kai to do the same.

 About 10 years ago my mom passed away. I remember her telling me, “I knew I was going to get old, I just didn’t think it would happen this fast.” She took care of my dad for several years before she got sick and wound up dying before he did. When I wrote this song I liked to imagine that these were her thoughts. And that she would have expressed the same thoughts and feelings at the end if she could have. Certainly, it’s how her son thinks and feels. 

[Podlick ]

 Now let me set the stage for you. Sam sits sleeping in a wheelchair next to Kai. As Kai also falls asleep, the lights go down on the stage except for a single spotlight on Sam. As the music starts Sam stands removes the IV and head covering revealing a full head of hair. Sam is magically restored and sings “Let Me Go” to the sleeping Kai. Cue the music…

 [Play song – Let Me Go]

 C                                           Fmaj7                                                                                                                     VERSE 1
I know that you love me, of that there is no doubt
G                                                              C
But I won’t fight the battle when I know how this war turns out
  Am                                          Dm
I don’t want to leave you - you know it hurts me so
F                                                 G
‘Cause sooner than later, you’ll have to let me go

Am G  Am                                             F                                                                                                     CHORUS 1             
Let me go – to face the next thing that I will have to do
Am   G   Am                                  D
Let me go – to see whatever my faith will bring me to
                F                                                  C
  Though someday you may follow, soon I must go on alone
Dm Am G                     Am       D   Dm Am   G Am G
Oh my Love – Let me go

C                                           Fmaj7                                                                                                                  VERSE 2
We fight this war together; you are always by my side
G                                                        C
Though I show the scars of war, you bear your wounds inside
               Am                                          Dm
We have fought the good fight love, but surely you must know
F                                                 G
When comes time for surrender, you have to let me go.
 
 Am G Am                                             F                                                                                                CHORUS 2                 
Let me go – to face the next thing that I will have to do
Am G  Am                                  D
Let me go – to see whatever my faith will bring me to
d e           F                                                  C
  Though someday you may follow, soon I must go on alone
Dm Am G                     Am       D  Dm Am G                   Am   G
Oh my   Love – Let me go              Oh my Love  Let me go

Am G Am                                           Dm                                                                                                 BRIDGE
                I won’t live as a shadow in my former frame
Am G Am                                         D
                I won’t be your burden when my ghost’s all that remains
F                                                 C
I won’t chase the shreds of hope just to fail again
  Dm                                         G                             A7
I won’t live like a scarecrow, tattered in the wind, tattered in the wind

Bm A   Bm                                G                                                                                                          CHORUS 3         
Let me go – as I release you to do what you will do
Bm A   Bm                                          E
Let me go – so you can seize the gifts tomorrow gives to you
e  f#          G                                            D
   Though surely you will follow, now I must go on my own
Em Bm A                     Bm       E         G   D/F#    A/E                  B
Oh my Love – Let me go.             Oh my eternal Love – Let me go.


That lilting lift at the end of the song is a technique called a Picardy Third. It’s where for no particular reason you change what is normally a minor chord into a major chord. At the end of the day, the song is a positive one and I wanted to end on a high, even though it is a little deus ex machina.

 [Pod Lick]

 [Go Ahead and Laugh]

At this point you’re probably wondering, “Tim, where’s the lighter side?” This next song is all about how death and dying is sometimes funny. And that’s OK. Some of the best jokes I ever heard were at viewings and funerals. There is a duality of emotion at play here. We’re complicated beings and rarely feel a single way about anything. I think that’s why demagoguery rings so hollow. It doesn’t include the humanity of having two conflicting feelings at the same time.

 Why do we find death funny sometimes? Well, the obvious reason is that it’s a mechanism to avoid feeling what we really feel. But I think that’s an oversimplification. Sometimes the circumstance of death can be – unusual --. And that may lead to humor. Sometimes the pure exhaustion of grief wears us out completely. And for some reason that can be funny. I don’t know why. But it seems as though we’re so overwhelmed with grief that we need a break, so we laugh. We laugh at ourselves, at our own grief. When it comes down to it grief can be ridiculous sometimes. And if you can’t laugh at yourself sometimes then you’re just a self-delusional ego maniac that wants to rule the world. I’m not a doctor or anything, just a humble observer of the human condition. Well, maybe not that humble…

 Written in 2017 and recorded at my studio in 2022 have a listen and please, “Go Ahead and Laugh”

[Play Song – Go Ahead and Laugh]

                                                                                                                                                                Capo 3 as written

Am                                     E                 F           G          Am                                                            Intro and 1st Verse
Sometimes when life is at it’s worse you may wonder why
                             D7                                       G                          G7
Instead of mourning your sad state you want to laugh instead of cry

                              C                       D7                                                                                                              1st Chorus
So go ahead and laugh. Just let it out
          G                  G7                     C
Life is funny, so is dying, there’s no doubt
                Am
So when grief gives you a tickle
                 E
Don’t feel bad, you’re not fickle
                        F                    G                               C
Go on and laugh, laugh, laugh. Go ahead and laugh!

          Am                            E                                                                                                                         2nd Verse
When things go bad, I mean really bad.
         F               G                        Am
Like saying goodbye to the best friend you ever had
                D7                            G                         G7
So why instead of cryin’, do you just want to laugh.

                              C                       D7                                                                                                        2nd Chorus
So go ahead and laugh. Just let it out
          G                  G7                     C
Life is funny, so is dying, there’s no doubt
                    Am
As the butt of a cosmic joke
               E
It’s OK to drop the yoke
                        F                    G                               C
Go on and laugh, laugh, laugh. Go ahead and laugh!

        F                                                       E                                                                                                           Bridge
 I’ve heard it said that too much laughter may lead one to tears
         F       G                             Am
But I say, where’s the harm in that?
                       F                                            E
You might just burst a blister that’s been festering for years
        D7                                                  G         G7
And laugh away that sore spot where you sat – at!

                              C                       D7                                                                            3rd Chorus Instrumental
So go ahead and laugh. Just let it out
          G                  G7                     C
Life is funny, so is dying, there’s no doubt
                    Am
As the butt of a cosmic joke
               E
It’s OK to drop the yoke
                        F                    G                               C   E7
Go on and laugh, laugh, laugh. Go ahead and laugh!


                              D                       E7                                                                                    4th Chorus and Ending
So go ahead and laugh. Just let it out
          A                  A7                     D
Life is funny, so is dying, there’s no doubt
      Bm
It’s all one crazy trip,
       F#
So, baby, let ‘er rip
                        G                    A                               D
Go ahead and laugh, laugh, laugh. Go ahead and laugh!
                        G                    A                               D
Go ahead and laugh, laugh, laugh. Go ahead and laugh!


[Pod Lick]

 
[Outro]

 So ends another episode! Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed this episode and don’t forget to donate to VoicesofHope-boston.com, but only if want to help make cancer history.

 By the by! You can now stream all of the songs from Season 1 either from my old albums or from my recently released album “The Rest of Tim Tunes – Season 1”. As always you can subscribe to this podcast or stream or purchase my published music on your favorite source, Spotify, Pandora, Apple or Amazon. 

 Toodle-loo!

 [Outro Pod Lick]

Intro
DABDA - Story
DABDA - Song
Let Me Go - Story
Let Me Go - Song
Go Ahead and Laugh - Story
Go Ahead and Laugh - Song
Outro