This post is Grassroots, meaning a reader posted it directly. If you see an issue with it, contact an editor.
If you’d like to post a Grassroots post, click here!

June 4, 2022

Soundtracks Are The Stories Of Our Lives

Photo by Lucas Pezeta on Pexels.

Some stories take a moment and others a lifetime to write. This is how the stories of our lives are written.

This one has taken me most of my life.

It starts with a particular car ride down a prairie road to boarding school.

While driving past the waving wheat and blue skies with my family ” The Only Living Boy In New York” by Simon and Garfunkel played on the radio.

Immediately my heart both soared, fluttered, and I cried.

Here I was for the first time in my life driving towards something that was just for me.
I was letting go of familial responsibilities and saying good bye to friends one who had just lost her father.
The song resonated with me the first time I heard it years ago and again that day in a entirely different way. This was the start of my exploration as a an artist. The emergence and individuation of self.

The year away in school was a rewarding yet hard one. I learned about myself and felt the first pains of grief.

I experienced my first deep sorrow when a young nun friend died while I was there at school. Sister Rose was the reason I went in the first place. She wrote to my during the first semester and she helped me to find my voice. She never mentioned that she was sick and by the second semester she had passed away and her body found it’s way back home to the convent and sisters who ran the school. Alone and crying Paul Simon’s song again came up and this time the lyrics changed to” The only living girl in Prelate”.

This “Prelate” was the name of the little tiny town in which I was living and going to school.  Alone with this grief I  again began to think of my dearest friend who had lost her Dad and how I had left her.

I felt selfish and sad. I felt selfish for leaving to find and explore my gifts and for leaving her in her grief when she really needed a friend. This was amplified with the loss of sister Rose which came unexpected. I was angry that she did not share her illness and I was in shock.

I did not speak with anyone about my grief or sadness. Alone I cried in chapel and wrote my heart out only sharing with those I felt a kindred connection.

The year was a tough one. I was battling my own inner struggle to embrace my gifts or turn from them. This was the start of a sweet journey and as the year ended and the girls piled into their cars to face their bright and shining futures I left knowing one thing that I was going to work at summer camp. I was filled with uncertainty and so that song would play in my heart and in my head. The moment was bitter sweet.

“The Only Living Boy In New York” would become a soundtrack of my life.

During “ peak” and momentous moments the song played. During moments of grief and loss it played as well. It was always there. We all have moments and soundtracks that tell our heart and soul’s story. We are all on a path and this path may have twists and turns.
We all encounter grief and some of it is saying goodbye to what was and what never will be.

Fast track to 2022 and here I am and here you are reading this.

There is no denying that life can be challenging and we don’t have to battle our battles alone. We can open up and write our own stories. We can work through our grief with family and friends and we can listen to the music that tells the stories and helps us through those difficult days.

” Let your honesty shine” sings Paul Simon. I am working on this and hope you are too!

Several months back when grief resurfaced I asked our very own Billy Manas to record his version of this song and he graciously answered my request. Thank you Billy. Please have a listen and share the songs that you consider your soundtracks to the story of your lives.

Peace love,


(364) The Only Living Boy in NY (Billy Manas) – YouTube

Read 6 Comments and Reply

Read 6 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Renee Fesser  |  Contribution: 63,245