Tag: illness

Song Lyric Sunday – Head Above Water

Jim Adams, the host of Song Lyric Sunday, has deferred to Angie, from The blog King Ben’s Grandma for this week’s prompts. She has suggested ’Illness, Injury or Scars’. An interesting subject. I came across a song by Avril Lavigne called ”Head above Water”. It was about her struggle with Lyme Disease.

The Song

Avril Lavigne’s album “Head Above Water” includes several songs (including the title track) that shine a light on her journey with Lyme disease. The singer explained on her blog she wrote and recorded songs from her bed and couch while she was ill. “Words and lyrics that were so true to my experience came pouring out of me effortlessly,” she wrote. “By keeping my spirits up, having goals to reach and a purpose to live for, my music helped to heal me and keep me alive.” She added:

[‘Head Above Water’] is also the first song I wrote from my bed during one of the scariest moments of my life. I had accepted death and could feel my body shutting down. I felt like I was drowning. Like I was going under water and I just needed to come up for air. Like I was in a river being pulled in a current. Unable to breathe. Praying to God for Him to help me just keep my head above the water. To help me see through the stormy weather.

“Head above Water” is the first single from Avril Lavigne’s sixth studio album, and the first new music she’d released since 2015’s “Fly.” She hadn’t released a studio album since her self-titled effort in 2013.Lavigne wrote a letter to fans explaining that “Head above Water” is about her battle with Lyme disease, which can cause fatigue and joint pain, and is potentially fatal. She had faded from the public spotlight for a while because she was fighting off the disease. In bed and on the couch, she turned to writing music to get her through the situation.”Those were the worst years of my life as I went through both physical and emotional battles,” the singer wrote. “I was able to turn that fight into music I’m really proud of.”

“Head Above Water,” according to Lavigne’s letter, was the first song she wrote from her bed while battling her sickness. She felt like she was drowning in a river and found herself praying to God to help her. That’s what she’s talking about when she sings:

God, keep my head above water
Don’t let me drown, it gets harder
I’ll meet you there at the altar
As I fall down to my knee, don’t let me drown

One night I thought I was dying, and I had accepted that I was going to die,” Lavigne told ABC News. “My mom laid with me in bed and held me. I felt like I was drowning. Under my breath, I prayed, ‘God, please help to keep my head above the water.’ In that moment, the songwriting of this album began.”After coming up with the lyrics, Lavigne met a “beautiful soul” named Travis Clark (from the band We The Kings), who helped her form the rest of the song. The pair took the song to Stephen Moccio to finalize the music.In the same letter addressed to her fans about the song, Lavigne announced that she was funding efforts to help fight Lyme Disease and to assist those already suffering from it.

The video was shot in Iceland and filmed by director Elliott Lester, whose other credits include the movies Blitzand Aftermath. The visual sees an ethereal looking Lavigne, wearing a flowing white gown, roaming on her own across mossy cliffs and a serene black sand beach.

Avril Lavigne’s former husband, Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger, offered up sessions for the Head Above Water album at his recording studio, and lent his vocals to the title track. “He was a really great soundboard,” Lavigne told USA Today. “I would call him and send him songs to get his opinion, and if I was ever stuck on something, he’d help me out, which is super cool.”

Avril Lavigne wrote “Head Above Water” with We the Kings vocalist Travis Clark. She started the song on her own when she was still battling Lyme disease. One night when she was starting to feel better, the Canadian had a party at her house. Clark had somehow scrounged an invite, even though she had never met him before.”I found him on my piano and I just thought he was so unbelievably talented, and I asked him to finish the song with me,” Lavigne recalled. “We worked so hard on this track and were able to take my story and put it out in the world.”

Courtesy of Songfacts

The Lyrics

I've gotta keep the calm before the storm
I don't want less, I don't want more
Must bar the windows and the doors
To keep me safe, to keep me warm

Yeah, my life is what I'm fighting for
Can't part the sea, can't reach the shore
And my voice becomes the driving force
I won't let this pull me overboard

God, keep my head above water
Don't let me drown, it gets harder
I'll meet you there at the altar
As I fall down to my knees
Don't let me drown, drown, drown
Don't let me, don't let me, don't let me drown

So pull me up from down below
'Cause I'm underneath the undertow
Come dry me off and hold me close
I need you now, I need you most

God, keep my head above water
Don't let me drown, it gets harder
I'll meet you there at the altar
As I fall down to my knees
Don't let me drown, drown, drown
Don't let me, don't let me, don't let me drown
Don't let me drown, drown, drown
Keep my head above water, above water

And I can't see in the stormy weather
I can't seem to keep it all together
And I, I can't swim the ocean like this forever
And I can't breathe

God, keep my head above water
I lose my breath at the bottom
Come rescue me, I'll be waiting
I'm too young to fall asleep

God, keep my head above water
Don't let me drown, it gets harder
I'll meet you there at the altar
As I fall down to my knees

Don't let me drown
Don't let me drown (don't let me, don't let me, don't let me drown)
Don't let me drown (don't let me, don't let me, don't let me drown)
Keep my head above water, above water

Writer/s: Avril Ramona Lavigne, Stephan Moccio, Travis Clark 
Publisher: A SIDE MUSIC LLC D/B/A MODERN WORKS MUSIC PUBLISHING, BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind



The nondescript neighbor across the street moved today.  Sam saw the moving truck leaving the house as he came home.  He never remembered her name.  In fact he had barely had a conversation with her, other than the cursory “Good morning” if they happened to leave their respective houses at the same time.  It was awkward.  There was something about her that he just couldn’t put his finger on.  She was very attractive but was haughty and aloof.

The first time he met her was when Tom, his neighbor next door, had introduced her the day she moved in to number 2024.  Sam had attempted a friendly inquiring conversation with a “Welcome to Westbrook!  Where are you moving from?”

She had stared at him and he noticed her eyes were a deep cerulean blue. She seemed startled, but recovering quickly she became closed off, almost cold, and made almost no more  eye contact. She offered an excuse and said she was busy with the move and that was that.  Tom and Sam looked at each other and shrugged.  Since that day she had made no friends with anyone as far as he knew.  She kept herself private and non-communicative.

Sam used to joke with the other neighbors that she was likely in the Witness Protection Program or she was on the run from the police.  He couldn’t recall one time when she had attempted to make conversation.

She never attended any of the neighborhood social parties and always kept her porch light off on Halloween so the children never went near her house.  One year the kids tricked her instead and toilet papered her front yard.  No one knew whose kids were responsible and they pretty much left her to clean it up by herself.  Sam felt a little bad about driving off to work the following morning seeing it there but he had a meeting to attend.  When he returned home it was all gone and he assumed she had cleared it up herself or got someone to do it.  He never gave it another thought.

“So she moved out then.” Sam said to Tom who was out in his front yard. He continued, “I sure hope we get someone a lot nicer moving in.  She was a cold witch, don’t you think?”

Tom replied.  “I don’t know about being a witch.  She was never nasty to any of us.  She was just private, you know”

“I guess.” said Sam as he headed to his front door. “See you later Tom”

As Sam put his key in the lock, he looked down and saw a box with an envelope taped to it.  It had his name on it.

He took it into the house and placed it on the kitchen table wondering what it might be.  It was a handwritten envelope and no marking on the box so UPS hadn’t delivered it.

He opened the envelope, which held a card.  He read it.

Dear Sam,

I know you and I have never really had a conversation but I have watched you daily for the past year. 

When I was introduced to you on that day I moved in, you lit a fuse in my heart.  I cannot explain it.  It was incredible and the feeling was very strong, like I had met you before or I had known you in some other life.  I wanted desperately to get to know you but it would not have been fair

I had no close family, having divorced several years ago, and no children.  I was looking for a fresh start somewhere when I got the crushing news.  I was told I was dying and the doctors had given me one year at best. I had already chosen this house before I knew of my illness. I thought it would be a wonderful neighborhood to make new friends. I’m sure it was but I never wanted to be a burden on anyone so I kept my prognosis to myself.

I wish I had known you in this life.  I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

See you next time around. 

Lori Cooper

Sam felt quite shaken as he put the letter down.  She had died. He was overcome with sadness.  Why hadn’t he tried harder to get to know her? He opened the box and inside was a smaller box in which was a gold heart on a chain.

On a small card it said…

“You stole my tender heart on the day I met you but I had to take it back. I leave you this in its place…L”


Christine Bolton – Poetry for Healing ©

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