I Don't Know Why . . .


After my mother died, I went into an emotional tailspin regarding plans for her wake, a grim task made easier by a good friend of mine that owned a funeral home and ended up directing the services.
My main problem was the music for the wake; it had to be just right.

I wanted no liturgical dirges that meant absolutely nothing to my mother.
I felt so strongly about it that it actually surprised me as I began thinking about all the musical possibilities.
My mom was the one that gave me the gift, the fire, whatever you choose to call it and I felt an almost desperate need to return the favor.

Hell, music had, in essence, brought my wife to me—it just doesn’t get any better than that.

Most songs were picked for particular reasons: Danny Boy (Bill Evans solo piano version), because it was a song her father used to sing to her and she really loved it.
Several Scott Joplin rags (strange, I know) because she’d spent a number of years trying to learn the Maple Leaf Rag, a difficult piece that would eventually elude her aging fingers.
I learned the piece years ago but never played it for her…a sadly missed opportunity.
I still play it today and wonder if I’m not really just playing it for her.

There was one song in particular that touched me in a magical way.
Thinking about it now, it was an epiphany of sorts.

It was, for me, the perfect combination of words and music that ultimately told my mom and dad’s story.
I tried explaining my interpretation of it to several friends that I knew would honestly listen; some got it, some didn’t.

“I don’t know why” is a song by singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin.
In my mind, the song had two very distinct parts: the first being that of a woman realizing her mind/memory is in deep trouble and she wants badly to explain what she’s feeling, the second being that of a husband/caregiver that wants his wife to know he will always
be there for her
Take note that only the ‘wife’ mentions music.

It’s a unique spin on the lyrics and mine alone…unless, of course, Colvin wrote it with that specific scenario in mind. I seriously doubt it.

If you see her, ask her for me, huh?

In any case, the song reaches to a depth inside me that I really didn’t know existed.
Wordpress doesn’t allow for the playing of music (at least not easily)
If you’d like to hear the tune, download it on Itunes or contact me directly.
My original intention was to have you play it and read along.
Oh, well…in a perfect world.



I don’t know whyShawn Colvin


I don’t know why
The sky is so blue
And I don’t know why
I’m so in love with you
But if there were no music
Then I would not get through
I don’t know why
I know these things, but I do


I don’t know why
But somewhere dreams come true
And I don’t know where
But there will be a place for you
And every time you look that way
I would lay down my life for you
I don’t know why
I know these things, but I do

I don’t know why
But some are going to make you cry
And I don’t know how
But I will get you by, I will try
They’re not trying to cause you pain
They’re just afraid of loving you
I don’t know why
I know these things, but I do


I don’t know why
The trees grow so tall
And I don’t know why
I don’t know anything at all
But if there were no music
Then I would not get through
I don’t know why
I know these things, but I do
I don’t know why
I know these things, but I do




ps. anyone that can guess where the location of the picture is. . . gets a shameless plug on my next post. (great incentive, huh?)
My sister may be able to figure it out.
Think of am Irish song Mom always used to sing . . .


11 thoughts on “I Don't Know Why . . .

  1. 6:54 a.m. and tears already….
    I remember having the same difficulty at both my parents services. My mom and dad met because he played drums in a band. My dad wrote songs, but couldn’t sing a lick. We used to love to drive my mom crazy singing Xmas carols in the car no matter what time of year.
    My mom sang light opera and later became a member of the local chapter of Sweet Adelines. It is because of that group, who sang the sweetest a capello song at my mom’s funeral. To this day, it is virtually impossible for me to listen to women barbershop. The sound is too haunting. I feel sorry for people who are not moved by music.

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Carn.
    I replied to you personally via Gmail.


  2. I spent some time in Ireland back in 1974 lovely place M… spent 10 days in Dublin and the surrounding area… was there for St Patrick’s day that year…went to the Guinness brewery which would have been right up your alley.. breakfast was boiled potato’s eggs soda bread and bangers..but the sunset eludes me

    No reason why anyone would figure out the sunset.
    It’s Galway Bay off the west coast of Ireland.
    My mom used to sing the song of the same name when I was a tot…


  3. When one is left to convey the emotions of a lifetime, in but a few songs it is extremely hard. I think that you did an amazing job. I have never heard the Shawn Colvin song but the lyrics are haunting.

    Thanks, Fuzz.
    It’s funny that somehow this song just made perfect sense to me
    simply because of my parent’s position at the time.
    And yes, the lyrics are quite haunting.


  4. Those are beautiful lyrics. But I can understand why you wouldn’t want music that meant nothing to your mother played. Why people think that you ‘have’ to do one thing or another at a particular time or place or event is beyond me. Just because it’s ‘what’s done’ doesn’t make it right for me.

    I’ve always been one to break those rules as well.
    Conformity sucks. Period.


  5. What a beautiful song, thanks for sharing it with us. Music was everything to my Dad. He was in a group called People Making a Difference, a vagabond group more or less who raised spirits by playing at nursing homes, etc. When Dad lost his functional vision he asked a friend to replace him as lead pianist, but he still kept attending and playing the warmup music. He continued playing at the American House (where he lived)for all the little old ladies. When Dad’s memory failed him in almost all other ways, it honored his music. As my brother put it, he became somewhat of a rockstar there. The last time he played was the night before he died. We asked this friend who succeeded him in the group to play at his funeral. She played all Dad’s favorites: What a Wonderful World, When You’re Smilin’, Always, Peg O’ My Heart.
    The service became a celebration of a life lived in “harmony”. A sweeter sound was never heard…

    Sounds to me like my mom and your dad would have been great friends.
    Who knows, maybe they’ve already met…
    Nice to hear from you, Laurie.


  6. Michael–I’ve listened to this song so many times, but now I’ll be hearing it differently. What a WONDERFUL take on it. I keep meaning to make a CD for myself of songs like this–that trigger positive, enriching responses. Now that you’ve reminded me of this one I might just get going on it…
    (PS I tried to leave this comment at Memory Lane but things kept timing out–glad you also posted here!)

    Thanks for the comment, Deb.
    I did receive your comment from Memory Lane.
    Not sure why it would have timed out…
    Anywhoo, great song and it fit my mom and dad so well.



  7. you seem to have a way of making my eyes misty with posts like these….it was no different this time 🙂 beautifully done
    i lost my mother very early in life and never really had the chance to comprehend what she treasured…being a typical child i was somewhat self absorbed however i have learnt from my father, slowly, over the years, that the only TRUE passion she had was her family…it was everything to her, so his take is always “you were, and that was enough” it never seems enough to me but he assures me it was.. i still wonder…

    I’m always so happy when you visit me.
    Your comments are insightful and compassionate and such a pleasure to read.
    It’s no surprise that I feel the same way when Kel responds.
    I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
    Please tell Kel, we all miss her and really hope she’s back soon.
    The blogosphere is just more fun when she’s around.
    I think believing in your Dad (and what he had to say regarding your Mum) is a great way to go.
    What a wonderful thing to say to a daughter.
    I’d accept that idea fully and cling to it forever.
    As always, thanks for the visit.
    Let Kel know we’re all thinking about her.
    be well,



  8. now you made me blush….my thanks for your response…
    kel will be back within the next couple of days…waiting on account activation for the net at home…both are settled in and as well as can be expected..will let her know you’re thinking of her 🙂
    I really appreciate you being a liason…
    Sorry I made you blush.


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