So many people left and I left so many.


In my sister’s house this weekend I saw four photos in a row of images, people who – as she told me – died in the past two years, and all of them were close in some way either a close colleague or a friend. I think back and remember there has been about the same number in my life, past 4 years or so. And many more lost and still alive, thanks God.


 Friendship I guess is not just about being together, or looking in the same direction sharing good moments of life, it requires also the ability to let go when the moments come.


Inevitably reminding me of “September When it Comes”, one of my favourite songs. Its full of  “brooding melancholy” about going to leave, written by Rosanne Cash.


I learned about the song when listening recently to a podcast of Free Radio Wisconsin  with her about her latest book.


“Art is a more trustworthy expression of God than religion.” That’s a line from Rosanne Cash’s new memoir, “Composed.”


She describes there the moment when she showed the lyrics and the music to her father, he immediately understood what it was about and he sang the song together with her, leaving behind an incredible memory.  Johnny actually died in September. To me its one of the most beautiful pieces ever written written, about a father-daughter relationship.  Kevin John Coyne tells the story of the song on the countryuniverse website so well

“In her memoir Composed, Rosanne Cash describes a handful of prophetic songs that she has written as being “Postcards From the Future”, describing life events in detail before they happen. The most haunting example of this is “September When it Comes…..    ”

She had written the lyrics in the nineties, scribbled quickly on a piece of paper while she was on the Long Island Expressway. At the time, her father Johnny was suffering through a health crisis. The lyrics describe her preparing for the impending death of her father, the time of reckoning described as September, a beautiful metaphor for the autumn years of life.

Her husband, John Leventhal, discovered the lyrics and wrote the music to go along with it. He suggested that it would be a perfect duet for her to do with her father. She struggled with the idea for months, before finally calling her father up to ask him to sing on the record.  After a few moments thought, he responded, “I’ll have to read the lyrics first.”

She flew down to Nashville and delivered them in person.  He quickly agreed to sing on the song about his own impending mortality.  Though he was in poor health and struggled during the recording session, he insisted on completing three takes. As he sang the lyrics, Rosanne cried quietly on the other side of the recording glass.

“September When it Comes” was released in the spring of 2003, the centerpiece of Rules of Travel, Rosanne’s first studio album in eight years.  A few months later, the song’s prophecy came to fruition. Johnny Cash died in the early morning hours of  September 12, 2003.

The eerie accuracy of the timing aside, the song is a quiet masterpiece in its own right.  It captures the pain of losing a parent to a crippling illness, but also the peace that comes with the knowledge that they have a reached a place that they can rest, and fall into the loving arms of those who wait for them. 

More so than any of the work that Johnny Cash recorded in his final year or that Rosanne Cash has recorded since his death, “September When it Comes” is the most beautiful swan song for both Johnny’s musical career and this father-daughter relationship.”


Closing this post with another favorite farewell piece of art text, the Irish parting prayer   May God bless you all leaving or having left.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May God be with you and bless you:
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.


About daktari164

Klaus is a Medical Doctor and International Health Systems Specialist, living in China
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