My beloved husband, Kent, died in January 2012, 3 years after diagnosis of a brain tumour. Our son was 2 1/2 and our daughter 3 months old. He and I were far too young. I am now hurtling through the black space of life without him.

Friday, 21 March 2014


- Not my best writing perhaps, but words I need to get down -

I grabbed a couple of CDs from my Mum's collection before the half hour car journey the other day, and hoped I had the right ones. It's good to try and choose something that I will enjoy, that won't envelop me in a dark and heavy blanket of memory and sadness. In the car I chose to play The Shot Band, they sounded kind of loud and fun. The first song was exactly that, but I prepared myself for the second one, I had seen on the cover that it was titled "The most beautiful widow in town." The melancholy of the first few notes jaded me, after the fun of the first song, and I thought "is this what has to be mine? Is this the music that is for me? Is there only this sadness now?" The fun of the first song was just pretending for a while, the second was reality returning.

It's hard to say really. I need words, and music, that describe pain, but I guess I don't need them all the time. And music is particularly hard. Perhaps because so much of my listening is done when I'm driving. But whatever the time of day, I have to be prepared for a journey (of the emotional kind) whenever I listen, and if I am choosing the music it can really take some choosing.

Looking at my mother's collection I could choose some old Jewel, there are few connections with Kent there. But what about that song that is so full of hope about life, fill your lives with love and bravery, and we shall lead a life uncommon, when life is skidding out of control? How do I join in the hope? Or there is that wonderful Mark Cohn album that Mum and I used to listen to, often in the car too, but I'd be preparing the whole time to skip the last song, when the years have done irreperable arm, I can see us slowly walking arm in arm, just like that couple on the corner do, cause girl I will always be in love with you... Then when I leave this earth, I'll be with the angels standing, I'll be out there waiting for my true companion.

Today I chose Sarah McLachlan, I have the sense to recognise that I don't know how to let you go grabbed me, and I succumbed to the searing beauty of Angel, spend all your time waiting for that second chance, for a break that would make it ok.. It's hard at the end of the day, I need some distraction, or beautiful release, memories seep from my veins, let me be empty and weightless and maybe I'll find some peace tonight.. oh this glorious sadness that brings me to my knees. But actually, it's OK, it gives the silent and rock hard burn inside of me voice and beautiful sound, and I like that. And I'm good at driving now with tears streaming.

After a year of silence it was David Gray's White Ladder that I went back to first, it was probably the last thing I had listened to a lot during Kent's illness, and it was the first thing I returned to. The beauty and sadness in it worked for me, and I played it in the car over and over. I have always had to skip what we gonna do when the money runs out, wish that there was something left to say, how we gonna find the eyes to see a brighter day, because it reminds me of a life running out, and the desolation of it is too much. So alive with wild hope takes me back to a good life long ago, I got half a mind to scream out loud I got half a mind to die - I listen to the first bit and try not to hear the second. And I love that someone out there has said so beautifully it takes a lotta love my friend to keep your heart from freezing, to push on to the end.

There is so much music that Kent introduced me to that I can't quite work out how to approach yet. I don't want to miss out on The Arcade Fire but I'm not quite ready to be landed in the middle of our happiest married days - good as that may sound. There's Coldplay that drops me straight back in to London and I am missing them too, but tears stream down your face when you lose something you can not replace.. lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones, and I will try to fix you can only be listened to in the dark and when you are fully prepared. Cat Power I would like to listen to again one day too, but they were a very recent discovery, and that seems to remind me that all good music that is to come won't be heard by Kent, and, less of a tragedy but disappointing nonetheless, without him to find it and bring it to me, I am less likely to hear it too.

I did discover The Lumineers without him, and I have found room for them without too many tears, though I wonder often about it's better to feel pain than nothing at all, and always notice when we were young we did enough (no we didn't, we didn't have enough time!) and when we were cold we bundled up (we did!). I also hear I'm standing on your porch screaming out, and I don't blame you dear, running like you did all these years, and most of all, most of all, Kent's voice, and the name he used for me, keep your head up my love, which, along with David Gray's The One I Love, led to me writing From Here to Here. Ho Hey and I belong with you, you belong with me, my sweetheart - those words make me struggle but the fantastic happiness and life of the song fill me with a fizzing excitement and I am pulled in all directions.

We can't talk of music and Kent without Dave Matthews of course, and it is something I have struggled to bring myself to listen to. For a myriad reasons - both lyrics and associations. They're words too hard or too precious to even write here to be honest, they're words that describe our earliest days together, words that we walked together back up the aisle to, words engraved on the inside of my wedding ring. Though I have spent some time with Grey Street and love the truth and experience of the words. 

And it is the most beautiful combination of Dave and the gorgeous Emmylou that tore at my heart and my eyes when I braved them just yesterday:
I can still hear him he calls to me only, what once was begotten shall come to no end,
But the road is so long and the nights are so lonely,
My soul just to hold him in this world again.
You are my sorrow, you are my splendour,
You are my shelter through storm and through strife
You are the one I will always remember, all of the days of my life.

- My soul just to hold him in this world again -


  1. Dear Anglea,

    What a most wonderful post. I must admit to it being a while since checked your blog, but I think this post is such an important one. Can I share some musical memories of my own?

    The night you and Jenny went to the Jewel show in Wellington was one of my favourite night's out. Kent and I sat on Cuba Street at a cafe with outdoor seating. I didn't know him too well but like many people, liked him a lot despite that. We talked about skateboarding and Ben Harper and other matters we had in common. He put up with my inability to listen and showed me the power of listening and being with someone. We came up with a hairbrained plan to get Ben Harper to play a private show in one of our houses. I remember his cleverness and wackiness. It was great few hours which I have often remembered. Kent was a great listener and that meant a lot to me.

    One year at Waitarere he wrote a song with some of the From 1 and 2 kids. It was based on Psalm 139 and, again, often goes through my mind. I've asked Shellie if she has a recording of it but unfortunately she doesn't. I thought I was pretty good with kids until I saw Kent work wonders through music with that handful of 12 year olds. He was a master with young people and I wish I had more opportunities to learn from him.

    When you first moved to the UK we came to London to see you. It was a terrific weekend and I still remember how happy I was to see you and to know we were in the same country again. You remember we came back up to York through Birmingham, spending the night. We went to that Ben Harper show and it was awesome!! He played 'Forever' which was the only time I heard him play that song and I've seen him four times. Kent played 'Forever' at our wedding which was perfect. It was a special that Ben played it when we were with you guys. I meant a lot to me.

    Kent was a wonderful man who gave so much to people and has left many of us with moments we will treasure for the length of our own lives.

    Please keep sharing through this blog. It triggers great memories of moments in our own lives.

    Much love - Michael

    1. Thank you, MB. Other people's memories are precious to me too, and you speak with great kindness. Thank you for reading, and remembering. x