#45 Family Matters How I Wish You Were Here
In These Times by Dr. Jody Kussin April 28, 2020
Did you watch Saturday Night Live last weekend? Did you happen to see/hear Miley Cyrus singing Pink Floyd? O.M.G. If you are a certain age you know Miley and if you are a certain age you know Syd, Nick, Richard, Rogers et. al from Pink Floyd and if you’re lucky enough to be an in betweener, you’re familiar with both. The song is dedicated to Syd Barret and was based on a poem that Roger Waters wrote about Syd Barrett’s fall from reality. It was believed that Syd struggled with schizophrenia, for which he attempted to self-medicate. He died in 2006.
How I wish, how I Wish you were here. We’re just two lost souls Swimming in a fish bowl, Year after year, Running over the same old ground. And how we found The same old fears. Wish you were here.
Miley sang it as a soulful, chilling song, specifically timed for us during this pandemic. While there are fun and funny memes going around (“A Panda eats 12 hours a day. An adult in quarantine eats 12 hours a day. That’s why we call this a PANDEMIC.”) there are also haunting and touching performances surrounding us. Perhaps we need a balance.
We are aware that it’s important and helpful to find humor and laughter every day. It’s also ok, and pertinent, to feel the sad feelings, the mad feelings, the scary feelings. It’s ok and important to not bury all the stress under the house and frenetically try to put on a smiley face each day. I know it feels like ‘if I give in to the sadness, it will overcome me, and I will not be able to come back up.’ However, you can put aside time and space to own the sadness, and still later in the day enjoy an episode of “Tiger King.” It’s not an either-or situation when it comes to our feelings. We can feel many things, sometimes, in one moment. Our feelings are not mutually exclusive – only happiness without sadness, only love but never hate, only mania and never giving in to fatigue. This is a perfectly fine time to feel all feelings. Parents in particular have it hard as they are swimming in a fishbowl with their kids observing every behavior and every emotion expressed. It’s ok. They can tolerate seeing you have a bad moment or even a bad day as long as you don’t take it out on them. You can own it – “Mommy is sad today. She will feel better later but right now she’s a little sad.” “Daddy is feeling mad today. He’s not mad at you, he’s just mad. Give him some space. The mad will go away.”
My memories of this song date back to 1983-1984 when I lived in Oakland/Piedmont, California. I had a roommate in a small apartment building. It was the early 80s. My roommate and I were ‘the odd couple’ – me more of a ‘rules follower,’ him more of a ‘we’re young and can do whatever we want.’ It was a good combo. We had a nice community of fellow grad students and neighbors with whom we hung out. We went dancing every week at a San Francisco gay bar. This was right before/as AIDS was identified, and little did we know that we would lose friends to the disease in short order. But for that time, what we all shared, was a deep love of music. We blasted our records and tapes full volume, and not only did the other apartment dwellers not mind, they came out to dance and hang with us. We had many favorites (“Who Will Stop the Rain?” anything by Bruuuuuuuce, some funny Supertramp songs) but our all-time best was Pink Floyd. WISH YOU WERE HERE. WISH YOU WERE HERE.
Miley sang it for 2020, when basically each of us, every day, has someone or someones we wish were with us. We share fears. We share longing. And for sure we are sharing a small fishbowl, in which we are swimming around, day after day. It’s ok to acknowledge that. It would be kind of silly to pretend it ‘ain’t’ so.