When you understand what you see, you will no longer be children…

You will know that life is pain, that each of us hangs always upon the cross of himself. And when you know that this is true of every man, woman and child on earth, you will be wiser. ~Whittaker Chambers

I’ve been trying to figure out just why Dir en grey has impacted me the way they have, and I think one reason is because their music expresses such pain and sorrow. Kyo’s voice is so unguarded, so broken, so angry…and yet also so darkly beautiful.

There have been times in my life when I’ve been overwhelmed with grief.

When I was fifteen. Right before my grandfather died, my parents and sister visited him. I didn’t go because I was ill. He passed away shortly after, and when I walked into the funeral home and saw him lying in the casket–saw the man who instead of saying “Bye” had said things like “Olive oil” or “Our feet are stained,” who had patiently explained to me the inner workings of watches and clocks, who had held my five-year-old hand when my family moved to a different neighborhood and I was scared. When I saw him there, still and cold, my heart twisted and I broke into tears. To this day I deeply regret not seeing him that one last time.

In my late twenties. When I found out that my then husband was having an affair, I was in the kitchen. Standing at the counter. I dropped to my knees and wailed. Not cried. Wailed. Guttural sobs wracked my body. I tore at my hair and clawed the floor. I did not know it was possible to weep that hard.

Three years ago. My ex left me once and for all after two decades of marriage. I was emotionally, physically, and financially devastated. I didn’t sleep for weeks and experienced wave after wave of panic attacks. At my lowest point, I was in a fetal position, my mom holding me tightly. I told her I wanted to die. It was the first time in my life that I truly meant it.

Then there are times when you’re forever marked by the suffering of others. I’ll never forget the funeral for a couple’s baby boy. When I hugged the mother, she hung on with such utter desperation. It was heartrending. Or when I told my children that their dad had left me. Gamer’s eyes were round with confusion and disbelief. It was almost unbearable to look at him.

Music has always been a balm to me. And Dir en grey especially touches that bleeding part of my soul. In his vocals and his performances, Kyo exposes his pain for all to see. He shares it freely and with no reserve.

It doesn’t take the hurt away. But, somehow, it makes me feel less alone.

When life is painful

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