Braced For Impact


On April 15th, Sturgill Simpson, released his third album titled “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth.” Simpson’s music, while often described as country, really defies categorization. On one hand, his voice is that of a country singer. Baritone with a southern twang, his vocal style is that of a classic country artist. But Simpson doesn’t fall so easily into the new pop/country style and on this release, he experiments with a soul sound that is exemplified by his use of a horn section, generous supplied by Amy Winehouse’s former backing band, The Dap-Kings. It’s a unique sound that makes his music next to impossible to place into a single category. All of the songs on “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth” were written and produced by Simpson and he has said that he wanted this album to be “a heartfelt manual to his young son about how to navigate life.” So obviously, when talking about life, he also talks about death. It is within those lyrics that I have found some solace over the last few weeks…


“There will be nights that go on forever
Like you’re long-lost at sea
Never to be found
Just know in your heart
That we’re always together
And long after I’m gone
I’ll still be around
Cause our bond is eternal
And so is love

God is inside you
All around you
And up above
Cause time slips away
Skies fall apart
It ain’t too hard
A universal heart
Glowing, flowing, all around you”
Alan Bangs Xmas Drum
On May 8th, my Mom was rushed to the hospital with gallstones and pancreatitis. First she went to our hometown hospital in Zanesville and then she was taken immediately to Riverside Hospital in Columbus. She has been in ICU there for 21 days tonight. She has been through various stages of “recovery.” One day, she is aware and vocal. The next, she is in terrible pain and unable to speak. Her breathing is labored, her kidneys have started to fail her. She has a been on a respirator, she’s been poked and prodded. Tomorrow she is having a dialysis done to clean her blood due to her kidney failure. She’s had multiple drugs and has fluid filling her body that is pressing on her lungs. It’s been a daily nightmare, watching as she slips & slides, not knowing whether she will be able to survive this particular dance with death.


“Oh, how the breakers roar
They keep pulling me farther from shore
Thoughts turn to a love so kind
Just to keep me from losing my mind
So enticing, deep dark seas
It’s so easy to drown in the dream

Oh, and everything is not what it seems
This life is but a dream
Shatter illusions that hold your spirit down
Open up your heart and you’ll find love all around
Breathing and moving are healing
And soothing away
All the pain in life holding you down”


It’s not easy watching a loved one go through this pain, especially when that person is the one person who loves me more than life itself. I know if it were me on that table she would be beside herself. I know she would do anything, say anything, move mountains to make me feel better. And here I am…feeling so helpless. There is nothing I can do. No medicine I can give, no one to blame. 20 years ago, my Mom suffered an aneurysm that nearly killed her. She recovered with only some long-term memory loss. And so here we are again, my Dad, my siblings and myself, sitting and waiting and praying that she can fight once again and return to us. What God has planned for her is unknown but every day I ask forgiveness in hopes that she will be spared. I don’t want to know life without her. I am praying for the absolute best and finding myself preparing for the absolute worst. It is not a situation I find myself comfortable with. I am an optimist. I want the best to happen. But I know that isn’t always the case. I know God has other plans. What those plans are aren’t for me to know.


“It’s the love that I feel in your arms
It’s the glow you wear around you like a charm
It’s the tender in your eyes
That keeps me safe and warm at night
From this life
Sometimes this life feels like a big old dream
I’m floating around on a cloud inside
When my cloud starts coming apart at the seams”


There are many ways that writers have used to describe their mothers. There aren’t many new ways to do it. I could tell you that I have the greatest mother in the world! She’s my rock, the foundation of who I am as a man and a person. I could tell you that she is love personified. I could tell you that she has always been loving and nurturing and has never left me feeling lost. There are so many ways to describe a mother and over time, they just sound so contrived. We all know what a mother is supposed to be and so, when presented with the time to come up with a sentence, we find the most obvious terminology the English language can come up with. In accordance with my feelings about this, I can’t exactly relay to you how much my Mother means to me. It’s not me being anti-establishment about the whole thing it’s just that…well…it’s OVERWHELMING. There will never be anyone who will influence me as much as my Mom. There will never be anyone who speaks about me the way my Mom has. She raised me with pride. She taught me how to be who I am today. She held me up as a baby, carried me in her arms as an infant, taught me how to walk and then set me on this path, never interfering yet always there on the sidelines to cheer me on. She is my Mom…and I love her with all my heart. And that is all that really needs to be said.
“One day you wake up
And this life will be over
Every party must break up
For burdens to shoulder
We’re dying to live
Living to die
No matter what you believe
And all of us cry
For the ones we must leave
So go and live a little
Bone turns brittle
And skin withers before your eyes
Make sure you give a little
Before you go to the great unknown in the sky”
Praying for the absolute best, preparing for the absolute worst. It’s not the way I would have it. Nor would anyone else in my family. But it’s the cards we have been given. I don’t know what God’s plans are but I have to trust that my Mom’s heart is with us. I have looked in her eyes and I see spirit. I see fight. She is not giving up. I have seen the eyes of someone who has given up on life and my Mom has life left in hers. I have to believe she is in this and is willing to put up a fight. My Mom has done so much good in her life, she has influenced so many, her spirit and her zest for life has taken her far and this will be no different. I believe this with all my heart.
There are so many reasons for Mom to fight this fight. I know she’s lacing up the gloves and ready to step into the ring. It has been a rough 3 weeks. Tomorrow I drive back to Columbus and I will see her in yet another state of medical confusion. So far, modern medicine has not impressed me much (again). I’ve been told many times that it takes time and patience for her body to heal. 3 weeks into this and I have to wonder about the truth of that. Either way, I’m not a doctor. I can’t say one way or another what is good for someone her age when it comes to pancreatitis. But we are all here with you, Mom, and we all believe that God has more for you to do here on Earth. We are braced for impact and ready to fight. I can only pray that you are as well.
We all love you so much and we’re gonna be pulling around Normandy Circle again to see you again soon. I just know it.
Love you forever and I’m blowing you kisses…and I know you got them!
Your son.
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1 Response to Braced For Impact

  1. ruthieann613 says:

    Please Kiss Mommy for me today. I have hope this surgery will give her the turn around she needs. Love You

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