My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade album was released in 2006, the same year my father died. I first learned about the album weeks after his death. A close friend of mine made me listen to “Cancer” which, according to him, always reminded him of his mom who had died a long time ago.
For obvious reasons, I liked the song a lot. I listened to it over and over, Googled and memorized its lyrics, and owned it as though it were written especially for me. I didn’t even care what it was about, or what how its creators wanted it to be understood. Freely, I dissected the song, took its lines apart, and used each of them to fill the gaps I was trying to deal with. There were also times when I thought these lines contained messages from my father who died unexpectedly, unable to utter even a single word to me before breathing his last.
No wonder, the line that goes, “Cause the hardest part of this is leaving you,” resonated in me. It convinved me that he would have stayed if he only could, and that his leaving wasn’t easy. Such a line consoled me and shredded my hearts into pieces at the same time.
Around March of the following year, I was finally able to buy a copy of the The Black Parade. At first I was scared to listen to it entirely, given how peculiar its album cover was. It also came with an equally strange poster which, I thought, was already bordering to being creepy. Gerard Way and his pals looked like ghosts. Plus, I wasn’t really fond of seeing women wearing old dresses paired with gas masks. I also didn’t know what to expect, since it was the first emo album I ever owned.
But I actually ended up liking it. “The End” was a great opener. It effectively set the mood, before abruptly transitioning to the adrenaline-pumping “Dead.” “Mama” and “Sleep” scared me, so I did my best to avoid these tracks when listening to the album alone at night. Yet, they didn’t keep me from loving the entire thing. Perhaps some things in life were just like that, I thought–shocking and difficult to understand and accept at first. But things would be okay, eventually.
“Cancer” remained a favorite but it was soon rivaled by “Welcome to the Black Parade”. I loved its haunting intro which, I thought, went well with the story it was trying to tell. I also found hope in the idea it brought up about the persona’s father whose memory carried on despite him being gone.
My father might have failed to take me to the city to see a marching band but despite this, and all his other shortcomings as a parent, his memory will carry on.
Dad, your memory will carry on.
(Featured photo from wallpaperswide.com)