“Down Home” – Jimmie Allen

One morning this Spring I was out for a walk and I was exploring the “new” of country music. I found a few artists that I enjoyed, but I had a much harder time with the sound. I guess that I just have a type. Shocking. Just when I wasn’t looking, in walked Jimmie. Hello, cowboy.

Our introduction was inevitable because of this single. Whatever listening devices are active in my life would have matched up country and missing Dadddy right to this song. Eventually. If I’m here for the new country, I am here for Jimmie. He has enough ‘today’ to have a new sound but the dance-ability and shoot to the heart lyrics that a 90’s girl loves.

I didn’t believe that it was true. People told me it would happen. And it did. The second year is not easier, but it is certainly less raw. As a whole. But there are really sad, mad, missing kind of days. Like the day that I heard this song for the first time on a tender sunrise morning. I cried. And cried some more. But then I listened again and again. And now, I just love it. And sometimes, I still get teary. Like maybe right now…

I’ve probably listened to it 30 times in the last few weeks as I have worked on this project. Here’s my view of Dad in this song …making new friends, a pond full of fish, holding nothing but the best kind of hope – shining a light up there with that big ol’ smile. Thanks for this, Jimmie. Most of the details don’t quite fit, yet they do. (Side note…Dad, Mom is now making fake food and I keep plants alive. These are important new aspects to our world.) This song is such an accurate picture of lighter grief. And I’m so thankful for it. That’s another part of excavation. We don’t just excavate the hard. We also excavate our happy and the joy and the party if we seem to be missing those in our heavy. Excavation is for all things.

Now, that doesn’t mean that there are not still really hard days. Even great days are heavier with grief on board. The morning of National Signing Day, I dropped my kiddo off for a flight and we celebrated the official end to a part of the journey that Dad did not get to see through to the end. He was one of her greatest cheerleader, and has been a part of this process in many ways. As I pulled away from the airport, for the first time in months, I started to dial his number.

He’s still on my favorites list. I can’t quite hit delete. And on that morning, I just wanted to hear him jovially answer the phone – no hello, no good morning – “How’s my butterfly?” Dad would have loved the monarch jokes. And I smile and cry as I type. The memories today are so fun. I love that we can tell stories and laugh today. I love that the searing pain is dulling and I get to smile more. Time is a gift. Even when I hate it. Thank you, Jimmie for helping me with the words and melody.

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