Given: A Wretched Descant

This is a personal journal. About how some particular sound can rewind time, how memory can relate to tragedy, about how a song can nurture sorrow. Two months prior to my Mother’s death, I did not have got a clue about what this song was all about. Just a compilation of simple guitar riffs, resounding snare sounds, easy-to-remember choruses, sweet refrain repeated twice or thrice and cymbals hissing from behind, all wrapped in reverberating final mixing. Nice sounds, nothing more. Except for my personal remembrance of my first hearing of the raw version of the song, minus the vocal part: Either by chance or fate, without any intentions to romanticise, I listened to it with my late Mother lying next to me.

Until yesterday, my copy of the album was still neatly wrapped. I did not have got a good reason to open the packaging. I saw the dummy of the sleeve cover once, I did not think I would ever need to see it again.

Just until last night.

I accidentally ended up on my friend’s social media feed. A post of a short video of the Band playing the song live. A cellphone quality video recording, quite poor I could not get the singing part. The song that exquisitely touched me. The song that made me recall my late Mother. The song that immediately reminded me of her. All those rages, all those ethereal feelings. All those sweet memories, too great they became so bitter. Then I realized, I had never really read the entire lyrics carefully.

I thrust aside the red sleeve that covered the jewel case. I ripped a piece of the plastic wrap with my teeth, once already torn, I split it all. I opened the jewel case, pulled the 8 page booklet out of its shell, dragged it close to my nose while opening its pages rapidly –a thing I always do with bound sheets.


Earlier this year, my late Mother spent some weeks here in this dorm room of mine. She was not too well. She spent most of her time here lying in this very bed. Ever since she experienced stroke in 2013, she was no longer the enthusiastic and lively Mom I used to know.

My parents were separated long time ago when I was a child. Mother had lived on her own since. Moving from one place to another, mostly she spent times in the capital city. We only met on weekends, those weekends when I did not have plans with friends, those weekends when i was not lying to her about having tons of school things to do and unable to meet her, those weekends when I was not too lazy to get out of my Father’s house to visit her.

She gave literally everything for her children. She did almost everything to make her living. And ours. She was and still is the strongest person I have ever known.


And so why you saved me?
I’ve got no place to see


When asked about what she had been through, she would always calmly say,

“There are things in life that can be told and many couldn’t.”

I always hated that sentence. I always hated her for not telling me when She was in trouble. All of the heavy liftings, the burdens, the losses, the despairs She carried. All of those difficult times She never told. Despite her life problems, She always smiled and laughed. And there She then said it again,

“There are things in life that can be told and many couldn’t.”

She dedicated her life to ensuring us that She was always there. No matter what happened.

During her stay in my place, She would wake me up for my morning shift work. I remember opening my eyes every morning to find her sitting on the chair next to the dining table, smearing butter to breads, sprinkling chocolates on them, and smiling at me. At that times, She may have already lost her recollections of many things, She may have talked and asked over and over again about one thing, but not to things that She devoted her life for: her love for her children.


I haven’t left your bed since, when can we talk?


The last time I visited her, She caught my drowsy eyes. She raised from her bed, demanding me to take a nap before going out. I fell asleep in her bed. The moment I woke up, I saw her sitting on the chair in front of me falling asleep.

There She went again, unselfishly prioritizing my interest over hers, concerning my comfort.
How egotistical I am.


Feel high and above
And there’s nowhere to go


Dear Mother, here I am lying in this bed. The very same bed you lay your body in. The very same bed sheet you lay your body on. I will not have the best reason to leave.

I am afraid of being unable to remember your scent, I am too scared to get over this weeping. I am frightened of the idea of losing these warm comforting memories of you.


When your eyes close you knew
You reached for my hand


Her presence was the best thing in this life. Her presence will forever shine through my murkiest nights and bleakest days. Her presence, through these pretty memories, will be perdurable and permanent than ever.

Good night, my first love. Sleep tight.


Still haven’t left your bed since
Now can we talk?



I previously made a brief review of this song on its release date. I hereby quoted myself:

Collapse’s “Given” confirms itself as a passionate anthem. As feedback noise fades in, the brattle of instruments starts to rumble. A quite fast noisy song that is swathed by rhythmic chant. Reciting tones that assuredly lit fire inside and leave calm feeling at the same time.

The only thing i missed was just that I never thought that a song so masculine, defiant and boyish (pardon the terms) could exaggerate sadness over the loss of someone so terribly.

As the mourning grows, the vocal seems to meld the music perfectly, resulting unadorned but elevating vibe. So simple, nothing pretentious, nothing unnatural. Yet, personally for me, the song is now more overwhelming and treacherous than ever. Arousing all of my past memories with her, lifting and swerving my emotions. 273 JS

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