They're collecting dust in our basement, the hundred or so CD's I managed to hold onto from a previous lifetime. They're neatly stacked in a couple of bright orange U-Haul wrapping paper boxes. Artists and songs that instantly transport me to another time and space. A time when Ryan was still alive. A time when I still lived in Seattle. A time when things were different.
Sometimes, if I'm not careful, I'll come across Vampire Weekend. I think it's track 8. A pop album from a new band in 2008 that made a sudden impact. We had a bootlegged copy that would get stuck in our red VW Golf.
When I turned on the car for the first time after learning that Ryan died, this song came blaring to life on the speakers. We had traveled over the North Cascades Highway to retrieve the car parked at the side of the road next to Goat Wall. I didn't want the song to end. I didn't want time to continue to march on. I wanted to hit pause and savor every moment from the minute I found out the news. Every minute that passed meant I was further from my memories of Ryan, further from what had been.
That's what grief did to me. It made me want to stop everything, to absorb every last detail about life and lock it in.
It's been over 8 years since then. And music still transports me. And I've learned not to cling to every moment but to appreciate them for what they are - a reminder to live each day to the fullest.