Eric Clapton and change.

A powerful example of grief and repair.

Normally my week-end posts are lighthearted.  But I do hope you will forgive the departure for today.

Regular readers of Learning from Dogs will recall that on the 2nd August I published a piece under the title of Changing the person: Me.  It offered several examples of how personal change or transition is tough but that the rewards that come from understanding the personal and emotional consequences of big life changes are immense.  As I wrote then,

The most important thing to note, and this is why so many ‘change’ ambitions fail, is that change is deeply unsettling at first.  When change happens for the majority of us, often ‘forced’ on us as a result of unplanned life events, we are left deeply unsettled; a strong feeling of being lost, of being in unfamiliar surroundings.  Think divorce or, worse, the death of a partner or child, reflect on how many sign up for bereavement counselling in such circumstances.  Big-time change is big-time tough (apologies for the grammar!).

Then I came across the story of how Eric Clapton coped when his four-year-old son fell from the window of the 53rd-floor window of his mother’s friend’s New York City apartment.  Here’s an extract from the WikiPedia entry:

The years following 1990 were extremely turbulent for Clapton. In August 1990, his manager and two of his roadies (along with fellow musician Stevie Ray Vaughan) were killed in a helicopter accident. Seven months later, on March 20, 1991, Clapton’s four-year-old son Conor died after falling from the 53rd-floor window of his mother’s friend’s New York City apartment. He landed on the roof of an adjacent four-story building.  After isolating himself for a period, Clapton began working again, writing music for a movie about drug addiction called Rush. Clapton dealt with the grief of his son’s death by co-writing “Tears in Heaven” with Will Jennings.

Here’s Tears in Heaven.  Please stop whatever you are doing now and play this video.  In under 5 minutes it demonstrates the power of the saying from Henry David Thoreau, the American author and poet – “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves”.

And going back to that WikiPedia entry

In an interview with Daphne Barak, Clapton stated, “I almost subconsciously used music for myself as a healing agent, and lo and behold, it worked… I have got a great deal of happiness and a great deal of healing from music“.

Eric Clapton

Let me close with another saying, this time from George Moore, the novelist, “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”

11 thoughts on “Eric Clapton and change.

  1. Paul what a moving post
    And I think that is very true in life. Sometimes we have to get lost in order to be found. I know this was how it was for my own personal journey.
    Wishing you a peaceful weekend. And I am wIping away a tear as I lsten to Erics music. Always a favourite of mine
    Thank you


  2. This is a poem I wrote while facing the challenge of ‘change’.

    By Ellen R. McCoy
    I’m staring at a torn cocoon
    Wondering how inside,
    A worm becomes a butterfly.
    What causes it to hide
    Such a metamorphosis of change?

    If only I could look inside…
    Perhaps when I could see
    How such a natural change occurs,
    I’d find the HIDDEN ME;
    The TRUE me that’s so out of range.

    Just then a butterfly appeared.
    It whispered in my ear,
    “Seeing would not be enough
    For change then you would fear.”

    As I wondered what,
    To that bright butterfly I’d say
    It fluttered softly, dipped three times,
    And kindly flew away!

    Then came THE TRUTH!
    The awful truth!
    If there had been more room,
    Beyond the shadow of a doubt,
    I’d still be in the womb!


  3. Thank you for reminding me what I have, Paul. I remember the senselessness of Connor’s death and we’re also reminded of it just about every time a child dies (as it is played at funerals and on news shows). It’s a beautiful song, but written with such grief that one can’t help crying when it’s played.
    Wonderful thoughts here…


  4. What a beautiful poem by Ellen, it so emphasis the reality that we sometimes truly do need to go through that pain in order to find our true selves. And such an esquisite ray of sunshine when we come out the other end.


  5. No pain can be had, as the death of a child. On preventing ultimate horrors our values to rest. However, when we fail, as sometimes we do, all what’s left, is to try again.


  6. I always get a little teary when I think about Clapton’s tragedy. I don’t know how any parent could endure such a loss. I can completely relate to his sentiment that music helped heal him. I know that I have used writing as a form of therapy myself. All expressions of art, I think, have that kind of healing power.


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