My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade was released in 2006. It was the same year my father died.
I first learned about the said album a couple of weeks after his death. My friend made me listen to “Cancer” which, according to him, always reminded him of his mom who had died a long time ago. 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 how its creators wanted it to be understood. Freely, I dissected the song, took its lines apart, and used each of them to fill in the gaps my dad had left me. Many times, I thought these lines contained messages from my father who failed 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 convinced me that he would have stayed if he only could. That 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 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, would be too scary to look at at night. 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 didn’t know what to expect either, since it was the first emo album I had ever owned.
But I actually ended up liking it. I thought “The End” was a great opener as it effectively set the mood, before abruptly transitioning to the adrenaline-pumping “Dead.” “Mama” and “Sleep” scared the shit out of 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 believe, 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 would carry on despite him being gone.
When I was a young girl, my father failed to take me into the city to see a marching band. Neither did he tell me about the black parade. But, thankfully, with the help of this album, I realized something: Despite his shortcomings as a father and his inability to say a final goodbye, his memory will carry on.
It’s Papa’s 16th death anniversary today, so I am posting this piece I wrote a few years ago.
Featured image from wallpapercave.com.