Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely

When I was recovering from my pulmonary embolism in early 2000, I slept sitting up in a cushioned rocker chair. As always, Maci slept with me, in this case on a pillow tucked between the side of the chair and my chest so that he wouldn’t be lying with his full weight directly on my chest. (It became our standard way of sleeping right up until shortly before his passing.) During that recovery phase, I played one song almost exclusively on my Walkman: The Backstreet Boys’ “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely“. At the time, there was something about the “hard to breathe” part in the first verse that caught my attention, since I couldn’t.

Show me the meaning of being lonely
Is this the feeling I need to walk with
Tell me why I can’t be there where you are
There’s something missing in my heart

In the years after that, my singing of this chorus became one of the things that would bring Maci to me from wherever he was in the apartment (“Viva Forever” by the Spice Girls was another) and so it is inextricably tied up with my memories of him. The words are so much more poignant now that they were back then.

It’s been three years now since my mother started to wrap up her time in this world and two years since my beloved boy started to wrap up his: I miss you both more than I can possibly describe, every day, and I’m still wondering why I can’t be there where you are.

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