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This week I watched a Swedish film on Netflix called A Man Called Ove. It is absolutely fantastic – I highly recommend it! Ove’s a loner and a curmudgeon to the outside world, but inside, is in complete emotional agony over the recent passing of his wife. So much so that he attempts suicide. I think a great film, book, or even piece of music, will stay within our heart and conscious for a long time because it hits close to home. That’s definitely the case for me with this film.
You see, I’ve always had this fear of being alone. A better term would probably be ‘phobia’. It has always been on mind for as long as I can remember. The weird thing is I’ve never been alone in my life. Even though I was an only child, I always had my parents around, especially my mom. Lisa and I moved in together right after we graduated from high school and moved to Toronto, so we’ve always been together. This doesn’t include the many friends and extended family I’ve been blessed to have in my life. So what’s my problem?
I guess I’ve been so fortunate to be loved, that I’m afraid that this could disappear. I’m looking forward to growing old with Lisa, but what if she dies first? Lisa and I have no children, our parents would most likely be gone by then, and the rest of the world seems so busy with their own families. Would I be so distraught like Ove and contemplate suicide?
I recently had the realization that my creative output is littered with pieces that either directly or indirectly address the theme of loneliness. I recently had a conversation with my musical collaborator, Jean Martin, specifically about how the 4 albums I have coming out this fall are connected by this idea, even though all 4 are very different musically and thematically than each other. Whether I’m composing on a theme inspired by my own life story or that of others, I’m always enticed to express loneliness through the music.
As mentioned, the fear of being along is nothing new. I remember having a dream on my 13th birthday where I saw myself as a 30-something sitting alone in an apartment in Edmonton (not sure why Edmonton?) singing myself happy birthday with a cake and one candle lit in front of me sobbing as I sang under my breath. That dream was 30 years ago now. Dreams are common but this is the only one I’ve ever had a lasting memory of.
I fell bad going on about all this because I’m (presently) not alone. I feel fortunate that I’m not alone. There are so many people out there who are alone so I really have no right to pout about this. But I guess it can happen to anyone. It’s important for all of us to be kind to each other. “Do on to others…” they say. What’s the alternative?