In this reflection James Cathcart writes about the pain of loss. Through reflecting on David’s grief and the lyrics of a Scottish indie pop song he considers the feelings of numbness and alienation that can develop through bereavement and mourning but also the eventual healing over time as we learn to feel our soul again.
David is devastated. His son has died. The loss must have been intensified by all that was left unsaid and unresolved in their complex relationship. He cries out, ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would that I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!’
These words do what they can to capture what must have been a deep and ultimately wordless grief.
‘Teenage Fanclub’, a Scottish indie band are famous for their shiny power pop drenched in waves of sunny guitar and sweet harmonies. But their trademark sound becomes ironic in ‘Can’t Feel My Soul’ which expresses the devastation of loss. A loss that David, himself a songwriter, would have recognised keenly. The grief stricken refrain of “I can’t feel my soul without you” is paired with a beautiful soaring melody. The singer is broken but the tune carries on - an insistent, irrepressible earworm. With different words the song could be about surfing, or falling in love, perhaps long endless days of summer - but it’s about loss - deep gut wrenching loss.
The song captures the bittersweet rush of memory, remembering all the reasons you love someone while also contemplating the missed opportunities and the pain of their absence, giving us an insight into how David and others in his position feel. Raymond McGinley sings a heartfelt cry, expressing how he is lost and losing himself in the grief, and yet the tune carries on regardless. It’s unmistakably a pop song, shining and effervescent, with an otherworldly, buzzing guitar solo - that speaks of life’s continued energy.
Even in the wake of our tragedy
life carries on.
Even as we feel numb and detached
- like the world is caving in -
life keeps going,
even when we can’t feel our soul.
It can feel cruel
and difficult for the person mourning
but it’s also part of the healing - that life carries on.
Bit by bit,
by the grace of God,
we will begin to feel our soul again.
Thank you loving God
for the people who help us feel our soul
We pray for all those struggling to feel their soul
Help them to hear the melody that
when they’re ready
can bring them gently back
to themselves and others.
#devestation #death #detachment #hollow #care #recover