I Can Still Remember: Revisiting a memory with a lost loved one

“A long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile…”


I am in second grade, sitting in the back seat of my dad’s Volvo as he drives me home from my soccer game. My hair is getting tangled from the wind blowing through the car, but we love driving together with the windows down and music up.

My dad is telling me what a great game I played when the song comes on.

“Elizabeth,” he asks, “Do you know this song?”


“It’s my favorite!”

He starts singing along with Don McLean in his loudest voice, swaying his head to the music.    The tempo picks up – he turns up the volume and starts drumming on the steering wheel.  He looks at me in the rear view mirror as he continues to sing along.  I melt into giggles in the back seat.

The song goes on and on and on and I can’t believe he knows all the words! My seven year old body starts bopping and swaying to the music, I fling my arms open wide to join in on the chorus that I have now learned: “Byyyye bye Miss American Pie!” My dad laughs and smiles to see me enjoying the song he loves.

The tempo slows and we both sing at the top of our lungs as the song ends.  I start clapping, delighted.  My dad reaches back for a high five.  We turn the radio down and continue to talk about my soccer game for the rest of the drive home.

…I snap back to reality.  I am in a different car, driven by a friend.  I explain what I just experienced – that every time I hear that song, I become the little girl in the back seat.

A long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile…

Photo Credit.


  1. Anna Sauce said on December 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm ... #

    My husband died 8 months ago and I have 2 daugthers, my oldest was in 2nd grade when he died. I hope that she has these memories later on in life of experiences that they shared. Thank you for writing this and sharing, it gives me hope that they will never forget.

  2. bobbi said on December 6, 2010 at 12:08 pm ... #

    my som loved U2..really!!! nevr missed a concert. everytime I hear one of their songs I stop and listen to the words, wondering, was this the song he heard when he died?( He committed suicide). And I wonder, will his children, who listened to the songs with him everywhere, will feel that same nostalgia and gief for their Dad? Or anger? Or just a warm glow that, Dad loved this song and sang it all the time.

  3. Bill said on December 10, 2010 at 9:25 am ... #

    Music/lyrics are powerful anchors to feelings and memories. I too love “American Pie” -it’s so easy to sing along with. What a wonderful gift from your Dad and one you can open every time you hear it.

  4. camryn said on December 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm ... #

    hi my name is camryn and i lost my mom in january 2 2010 and she was nice to me alout one time i came home from school my mom was on the ground bleding blood out of her mouth that is why i loved my mom

  5. Skylor said on December 15, 2010 at 5:21 pm ... #

    I am 12 turning 13 and my name is Skylor on june 16 my mom past away from falling down the stairs from my home and she was thinking that she was ok but she was not she had blood in her belly from hiting it hard and had brian damge and it was to late to say good bye.

  6. Candy said on January 6, 2011 at 9:15 pm ... #

    I lost my husband 1 1/2 years ago, and I’m still raw…unfortunately I am now remembering some of the bad and the ugly…not just the good.

  7. Candy said on January 6, 2011 at 9:17 pm ... #

    I guess that’s a starting to “accept” it.

  8. asia said on January 14, 2011 at 8:13 pm ... #

    My dad died August 9th 2010 and it was right before my 8th grade year so nowt i am in 8th grade and i just can’t stop thinking about the bad I just want to skip this phase and go to the good and my dad died of Collen cancer

  9. Wink said on February 10, 2011 at 2:27 pm ... #

    I lost my husban 4 years next month. VERY sudden death, and my 8,6 and 3 year old were there as well.
    I too hear music that makes me smile, cry and just want to be somewhere else.

  10. barrkara@hotmail.com said on March 11, 2011 at 11:29 am ... #

    My dad was a man of the 70s and whenever I am nostalgic for him, I put on Ventura Highway by America from his AM Gold CD collection, roll down the windows in my car and sing at the top of my lungs imagining days when he would listen to this song in his car while driving with the wind in his hair… 🙂

  11. Stephanie said on December 30, 2011 at 11:03 am ... #

    My dad died on Jan. 5, 2010, after a 75-day long battle with brain cancer. Music is a powerful memory maker indeed. Here’s one of my memories that involve music and my dad: http://justmycurrentperspective.blogspot.com/2011/06/details-hoarding-memories.html

  12. lisa said on February 18, 2012 at 8:20 am ... #

    My dad loved the My Waterloo song by Stonewall Jackson. I bought the CD after he died and listen to it a lot. Its a great song…I sure miss him greatly.

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