“It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.'
I do not agree. The wounds remain.
In time, the mind, protecting its sanity,
covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens.
But it is never gone.”
~~Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

Hi all,

I'll admit, I wasn't quite sure what to do with this newsletter.  You'd think having a whole week off from work woulda helped but the mice who invaded my house had other ideas.  They literally kept me hopping.  And, admittedly, I spent a lot more time updating the web site as opposed to writing anything new.  But, truthfully, the annual John's birthday newsletter tends to be the hardest one for me to write each year.  It was much easier when he was still with us and I could just send a couple goofy top tens or whatnot.  And then there was always the thought, stated or not, that this could be the year when he'd resurface on a new show.  Whether it was likely or not, there being a possibility was comforting.  And then that possibility was gone. 

And here's another thing I'll admit: I spend the bulk of the year in denial.  Sort of.  It's not that I don't know that John Dye passed away.  Of course I do!  But I just can't really think about it because every two weeks a JABB newsletter is due.  And I really don't think I could continue to write about Andrew if the fact that his portrayer is dead was top of mind for me.  I kind of just have to set that aside.  But then when this newsletter comes around, I have to face the truth head on.  Dyeland goes away and there's just reality.  And that can be difficult.  So I find myself turning to the same thing that brought me peace in those first few days after John went Home: music. 

So below is a listing of a few songs that have brought a lot of peace, hope, and joy to me in the years since John's death.  Hopefully, if any peak your interest, you can find them on YouTube or whatnot.  And if you have some songs you'd like to add, please send em along with a little write up on what they mean to you.

God bless,

"When I Look Up" from The Cotton Patch Gospel- I'm not sure what it is about this song but it just brings me peace.  It probably helps that it was written by Harry Chapin who wrote another song that inspired my parents to name me Jenni.  And then to have it placed in the context of a Southern-themed Gospel account... I dunno.  It just seemed to provide a good context for remembering John and also the faith that reminds me that death is never the end. 

"Endless Night" from The Lion King- In this song, Simba calls out to his deceased father, Mufasa.  It starts very dirge-like but ends on a triumphant, joyous note as Simba and the chorus sing about the sun rising at the end of a dark night of the soul.  It's gorgeous.  This song has helped me process a lot.

"Wildflowers" by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers- I'm not sure when exactly but at some point this song started to remind me of Heaven.  When I listen to this, I tend to set aside grief and imagine John and all my departed loved ones living it up in Paradise. 

"Hold Your Head Up" by Argent- I have a tendency to lose my appetite when upset.  Just for reference: I've lost 8-9 pounds just over this mice debacle.  So you can imagine how finicky I get when actual grief is involved.  A few days after John passed away, my parents coaxed me out of my house for dinner at Five Guys (a burger joint).  I'm not even that much of a burger fan but I realized I had to eat.  So I went.  And as I was sitting down to my first real meal since news of John's death reached us, this song started.  You might remember it from the TBAA episode "At Risk" (although, unfortunately, I think it was removed on the DVD.)  I actually laughed.  It seemed like a sign from John that I needed to get it together... and eat that burger!

"Love, Reign O'er Me" by Pearl Jam- I don't even remember how I found this song or where I first heard it.  I just know that it was one of the songs I listened to for inspiration while writing "House of the Lord" back in 2009.  Come 2011, it came back to me and the lead singer's passionate, primal delivery just made it impossible to sit still.  Whether foot tapping of head banging, the movement just made me feel alive.  It maybe sounds funny but I guess I needed a reminder that I was still alive and that our bodies are miraculous, vibrant things and death doesn't make that any less true.  For context: Heart problems run in my family so on top of the obvious grief following John's death, I was honestly terrified about my health and that of my family members'.  So this felt good.

"Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen- This is one of the most human songs I have ever heard.  When I listen to it, I remember that no matter what grief or anxiety we feel, millions of others have felt the same for thousands and thousands of years.  And yet we're still here.  The world keeps turning.  We keep singing... even if sometimes all we can manage are "broken hallelujahs." 

"After the Storm" by Mumford & Sons- "And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.  And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.  Get over your hill and see what you find there, with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair."  I still get a lump in my throat every time I hear this song.  My dad and brother became Mumford & Sons fans right around the time John passed away and this CD was playing constantly in the car.  And this one just grabbed me.  It helped me imagine a time when death itself will die and we'll look back and, finally, understand it all.

"Carry On" by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young- So every Valentine's I've written a Dyeland story.  The 2011 one was particularly challenging since I had to start writing it mere weeks after John Dye passed away.  For some reason, thinking about Doc Hock was easier for me than thinking about Andrew.  So I created a playlist full of hippie-era music to listen to as I brainstormed this story.  And I fell in love with this song.  It's just so hopeful and yet has a gravitas that acknowledges that life is sometimes really hard. 

"C.S. Lewis Song" by Brooke Fraser- “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”  That quote from C.S. Lewis drives this song which is a great reminder that no matter what happens in this world, a better one is waiting. 

"Jesus, Remember Me" by Taizé- This biblical passage kept running through my head over and over and over in the wake of John's death.  I'm not even really sure why.  I don't recall ever feeling particularly drawn to the good thief's prayer beforehand.  Since then, this has become the sentence I repeat over and over when I'm feeling anxious or sad.

Bonus: So this song doesn't so much have to do with my feelings about John Dye but rather represents what it was that kept JABB from folding shortly after his death. 

"What Wondrous Love Is This" by Fernando Ortega- For me, this song mentally scores JenniAnn's revelation scene with Joshua from "The Carpenter."  Writing that was really the culmination of the spiritual journey I took following John Dye's death.  At a certain point, I had the thought "Ya know, many of the disciples lived for decades after Jesus... who they actually knew, touched, talked with, and loved as a friend... died.  They survived that.  You can survive this."  Which was great and very healing... until it turned to "But, gosh, at least they got to spend some time with Him in the flesh...  I've lived my whole life without hearing Him or touching Him or seeing Him.  I'm not sure I've got decades of that left in me."  Which is really sad but also would have ended JABB because I started leaning heavily on the Joshua character as a sort of distraction from Andrew when it was too hard to focus on him and remember that John was dead.  So if Joshua became too painful to deal with... bye-bye Dyeland stories and then bye-bye JABB.  But when I wrote that scene, it was so emotionally real for me that I no longer felt quite so bereft. 

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for, even in death, reminding us that life and love are eternal.  "I want you to know there's nothing... nothing to be afraid of. On one side, there's life. And on the other...there's life, too."  ~~Andrew, Random Acts

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(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from Touched by an Angel and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions.  They are not being used to seek profit.)