If you’ve been following my blog, you already know that I’m still knee-deep in various hockey activities. So, when I tell you that I was up at 4:00am yesterday morning to head out to Peoria for the AZ Royals/IHAAZ Inline Festival, you probably won’t be too shocked…
Out the door at 4:45am, I decided to pop on Hamilton as my wakeup music. The Broadway musical been an favorite for a while now, and it has special significance because of how much Micah loved it. (Heck, my cell phone ringtone is Jonathan Groff as King George III singing “You’ll Be Back.”) I expected a bit of a bump there…but I did not expect to be wiping the tears away ten minutes into my drive.
I didn’t stop playing the soundtrack, of course…just let the soundtrack play out (at least until I reached the Peoria Sportsplex–it’s a long musical). I started to think about the loose parallels between the story of Alexander Hamilton and my life. No, I am not the thinker or writer that Hamilton was. (I can only strive to be half as intelligent as Hamilton was.) But, like Hamilton, I am an attorney. Like Hamilton, I tend to write quite a bit. Like Hamilton, I tend to get very engulfed in my passions. For him, it was the idea of revolution–for me it’s youth hockey and music. And, unfortunately, Hamilton and I share one other life experience: the death of our sons. Hamilton’s son, Philip, was killed in a duel at 19 years old, angry at a man that criticized his father. Not that a duel is the same as suicide, but I think there’s definitely a suicidal vibe behind 18th and 19th century duels.
One area that I will definitely try to be different: Hamilton’s life became understandably darker after Philip’s death in 1801, leading to his own death in a duel with Aaron Burr in 1804…
Yes, all of that was going on in my mind as I drove the last 35 minutes from Gilbert to Peoria yesterday morning–and on-and-off the remainder of the day. The early morning and emotionally draining ride took their toll as I passed out around 7pm last night.
Micah was still fresh on my mind when I woke this morning. As I drove near South Valley Junior High, Micah’s former junior high, I started remembering how I would drop him off for school to avoid having to pull into the mess of a parking lot. I thought about how thankful he was that I was willing to do that. His smile as he would walk away from the car, telling me he’d see me that evening. The morning went okay from there–until my random soft rock playlist decided a nice mid-morning tune would be Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with the song, Eric Clapton wrote the song after his 4-1/2 year old son Connor fell out a 53rd story condo window during a visit with his mother in New York City, 1991. (For more information, you can read this article.) It’s a very deep, very sad song that Clapton wrote in a time of great pain and anguish.
Hearing that song this morning brought me to my knees. Even thinking about the song and its lyrics is difficult. It reminds me of hearing the Mike and the Mechanics song, “The Living Years” on the way to my father’s funeral back in 2006. It was several years before I could really listen to the song again without tearing up. Even now, with the lyrics of that song, I have a hard time listening in light of Micah’s death:
I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say
I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I’m sure I heard his echo
In my baby’s new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years
And now my father and son are together, but my tears are not in heaven. They are here with me on Earth.