My song “Need To Say” is about the death of my mother, Sharon. This song has been 7 years in the making and I began writing it before I became of follower of Jesus at the age of 25 and finished writing it after I became a follower of Jesus. The song was finally fully written at the age of 32. The song switches back and forth from the perspectives of both myself and my mother. Originally the working title of the song was “Mom in Time.”
The song can be heard through my BandCamp page here: Need To Say - Josh North
Let me now break the song down for you.
The first verse is from the perspective of my mother coming to terms with the fact that she is going to die and asking me to hold her hands and pray for her. She admits that she is not in control of her death and that she is afraid. She tries her best to hide the pain that she is in and she is and she is not ashamed to due so in order to keep myself and her other children from worrying about her. The final words in this verse are "who is God to guide my way?” This statement represents my mothers pride, confusion and distortion of who God is. My mother was a well respected New Age teacher and counselor and it was very rare that my mother would give up her control to anyone, including God.
The pre chorus represents both perspectives and is pretty self explanatory. It’s so hard to say goodbye to the ones you love.
The chorus is from my perspective. The disease that killed my mom is called lewy body dementia. This disease caused her to be unable to be coherent or speak clearly most of the time. The chorus is me asking her in desperation to speak to me before she dies. It also touches on me trying to find the right words to say to her before her death. It goes on to say I don’t want to watch her fade away because the disease she had was a slow progression and very painful for me to watch and be apart of. The final words in the chorus are “I’ll get over it.” These words represent my initial attitude towards pain, heartbreak and trauma before I met Jesus. The world taught me to “force myself to be strong,” “suck it up,” “push the pain down” and “get over it.” I forced myself to do these things. That is what I did with my pain until I could no longer do it anymore and I collapsed into Jesus Christ’s arms. Once meeting Jesus I realized that is not how you heal from things, but I wanted the song to be honest represent my mind set at the time of my mothers death.
The second verse of the song is from my perspective of the sheer dread of losing my mom. Myself trying to grasp at some control by asking her to tell me when she is going to die so I could try to prepare myself, which those who have experienced the death of a loved one know that it’s nothing you can be prepared for no matter how hard you try. I felt a completely helpless. Her response is "I don't know" because she finally recognizes that she is not in control and it is truly up to God when she will die and we cannot foresee it.
The third verse says “And I’ve got nightmares on my mind” which was the first melody and lyrics that came to me for this song. Once my mom died I began to have nightmares which were based on my questions of where she went after she died, was it heaven or hell? Those un-answered questions of where she went tore me up and complicated my closure with my mother until I gave it to God and began to trust that wherever she ended up was Just because God is a Just God and I trust His judgement. Even with that said, I still have a hope that I will one day see her on the other side (which is heaven) and one day hold her hand again in a brighter place.
I tried to write this song as honestly as I could from my perspective within the time leading up to my mom’s death, which is why I think it took so long to write. How I feel about death now is not how I felt about it when my mom died. Three months after her death, I had my life changing encounter with Jesus Christ. He showed me that there is so much more than just this world and our life now. The bible says “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” - James 4:14. With that in mind, I can see my mom’s death differently. I can see that her death is not the end of the world, or even the end of my world. Though very painful, yes. Her death was the end of her in this world and where she goes onto after this world is between her and God and I can rest in that. I love and miss my mom very much and I wish so much she could have known the person I am today. I love you mom, I miss you.
All songwriting, arrangement, music, instrumentation, vocals, drum programming, mixing and mastering done by Josh North.