Song of the Week #4

I’m trying to birth a poem at the moment, and I need to get away from words. Last week, I had so much going on with my addiction post that I didn’t post Song of the Week number four. So, I’ve made it a goodie – ‘Samson’ by Russian singer Regina Spektor. Seriously, how did she get that song so perfect? How anyone can protest that this is one of the most beautiful songs on her 2002 album ‘Begin to Hope’ is beyond my comprehension.

My youngest nephew is a Sam. Not a Samson, but he may as well be because that’s what I often call him. Either that or ‘Sam-YOU-elle!’ Sammy was born a few weeks early, but that was enough to make him very sick. He had failure to thrive and had my sister not been a carrier of the CF gene, we would have suspected that he had Cystic Fibrosis. I’m sure my mum was transported back to when I was a baby where I struggled to put on weight, had constant chest infections and hospitalisations. When he was eight months old, baby Sam stopped eating and was losing weight quite rapidly. The only choice my sister was given was to feed him via a naso-gastic tube – a horrible thing for any parent to go through. I say parent, because thankfully he doesn’t remember having tubes forced up his nose when he’d rip them out as any baby would do. It’s certainly what I did. With a temerity and mother cub instinct, my sister managed to get through that and while that was really only the beginning of Sam’s health problems, on my sister’s birthday he suddenly began eating – the first thing he munched on being her birthday cake!

When he was three, Sam had been in a private hospital for his asthma for just short of a week and we he just wasn’t getting any better. The next thing, he’s literally dying in my sister’s arms. Sam was in acute respiratory arrest – a frightening shade of blue, his little chest sporting a huge cleave and he had to be brought back to life. I cannot imagine how terrifying that would have been for my sister. Not less than ten doctors worked on him for at least an hour and then he was transferred to the city’s best children’s hospital by the hospital’s head intensivist himself. Sam was placed in the Intensive Care Unit and I arrived to find him not intubated, which was a massive relief. For the next couple of days, he was under the watchful eye of ICU doctors and on bi-pap, a machine often used for CF’ers to force oxygen into the lungs. It’s essentially non-invasive intubation.

Sam eventually got better, but he still has terrifying asthmatic episodes. One day he can be running around like a maniac and the next, he’s in the back of an ambulance with sirens blaring, my sister terrified about the outcome. Now, because he’s awfully cute (all of my nephews are – coincidence they’re related to me? I think not), Sam has been don’t a lot of media – billboards in shopping centres, in ads, on radio and TV for the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation (do you think I can find ANY of it?)

And so, this song always reminds me of Sam. The words ‘You are my sweetest downfall; I loved you first, I loved you first’, are words I’ve always associated with my nephew. We share a bond where both of us have been to the edge of life and back and we share an amazing spiritual connection. That’s all I’ll say.

The delicacy of this song is so exquisite and it’s just occurred to me that I’ve been selecting songs that are delicate, so I promise to mix it up with something with a little more robust next week. Maybe even something daggy, because I’m a bit of a dork. For me, ‘Samson’ has this ethereal quality with its piano trills and Spektor’s voice. This ballad is so striking in its simplicity and its shut up beauty and originality. It is the sweetest song on the album and for me, I think Spektor really found her form with this song.

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to see Regina Spektor live, and when I heard the first refrain from her piano, I cried with joy. Such an affecting song. And so I give you ‘Samson’.

Sammy and I even wardrobe coordinate …

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Sam and I a couple of years ago. We look a lot alike and I’ve been asked if he’s mine progeny, to which I say ‘he’s my nephew and I hold no responsibility as to what he may or may not do in your shop’ 😉

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8 thoughts on “Song of the Week #4

    1. Thanks for the reminder, Carly! I can’t believe I left out that I’ve seen her live, too. She was incredible and so very talented and gracious. And yes, Sammy is a beautiful boy. So special XO

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  1. Yes, Sammy is special! A bit like his aunt. 🙂 My heart goes out to your sister and I’m glad that her tale has a brighter ending than my own. No doubt that special bond between you and Sammy will last your entire lives.

    Loved the song and than you for the introduction as I had never heard her before.

    Unfortunately, I know too well the struggles with asthma and often those who don’t have no clue just how serious it is. Big love from France XOXO

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    1. He’s a bit of a miracle boy, our Sam! Asthma is an insidious illness, Lea and I agree – many people don’t take it seriously enough. When I was sixteen, an eleven year old girl died of CF, but what precipitated her death was a massive asthma attack. She died a truly horrendous death and I’ve never forgotten her screaming in the night time that she didn’t want to die. I still tear up just writing about it. Big love right back at you ❤️

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      1. I can’t even imagine all that those with CF must go through. It has only been recently the last big asthma blow-out and I feel as if I must cut my chest open to get some air inside it. No, that would not help but that is how it felt. Big love as we can never have too much! ❤

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      2. Thank for your your compassion, Lea. You know, her funeral was far worse, but I guess you try to move as you best you can. It’s strange how I had had asthma pre-transplant, but afterwards – nothing! I’m sorry you’ve had some episodes of late. I remember how much they suck. Sooooooo much love!! XOXO

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      3. It was the first asthma attack since coming to France eight years ago and I’ve no doubt was triggered by a nasty bronchitis.
        For many funerals give closure. I don’t believe I am one of them but do go to village ones out of respect and to support friends. As for when my time comes, bury me at sea, find a café and raise a drink if you are so inclined.
        Funerals here are very different than anything I’ve ever experienced and done soon after death. Buckets of love! XOXO

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      4. As we’d say over here – ‘bugger’. I hope you’re feeling lots better. Funerals are supposed to bring closure, but the concept of closure for me is a fallacy. A myth. It simply does not exist. Funerals are done far too soon post-death. It’s like a dirty secret we have to get rid of and the sooner the better. Not so. I would like to have my loved one at home for a couple of days – I think that’s that closest I would get to ‘closure’. It’s important to take time to breathe after the loss of someone we love, and that opens us up – cracks us open, if you will – so that we can begin to grieve. I know you know about this much more than you would like to, my love. Lots of love coming your way XOXO

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