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'Lyrics that Speak to Me' Series: Blues Travelers "Letter from a Friend"

In our Heart & Mind Music Lyrics series, our Emily Tate, Counselor, MEd, CATP, features Blues Traveler's "Letter from a Friend" music lyrics.

"I know you're thinking now you must go through this alone. But it's time to come home. I can feel the pain that won't go away. We can't change that he left us. But it's up to you to stay. I will make sense of it all, gonna try to make sense of it all. You ask me why, cause it’s all I can do. I miss him every day, but now I miss you. I ain't telling you what's right, not telling you what's wrong, But it's he who has died but you who have gone. I know it hurts right now but you got to keep moving on. I know how good it can feel when you're safe and withdrawn. But he still lives in our memory and you don't yet have that choice, and you're still here to speak to me, and you're gonna have to use your voice."

Emily explains what these lyrics mean to her:

"It's about losing a friend and drowning in that despair. The friend who writes the letter tries to convey the deep depression and the hopelessness while pledging to make sense of it all and to be there for support. As I'm sitting here listening to the song again, and trying to pick the most poignant lyrics, I can't do it, but I’ll try. The whole song, every line, is so perfectly accurate and touching and human. This was a song that helped bring me out of that deep grief and despair when my best friend died in college and I didn't know how to handle it. The empathy and understanding, just feeling heard, helped me claw my way back into myself, when all I really wanted to do was be alone with my grief. And I think that’s common, especially right now, especially when we are still in a pandemic and we haven’t had time to grieve all that we have lost. There are always people who will help pull you up and out of that grief if you allow them to, and you are seen and heard."

By the way, Emily got to meet John Popper at a concert in college, and was able to tell him in-person how much this song meant to her, and how it literally changed her life. While she doesn't deem herself a groupie type, that was indeed a hero moment. She still has the picture of that night, and doesn't think there are many other people, especially celebrities, who have so immeasurably brought light and literal life to the world just with one healing song.

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