I discovered Snow Patrol on VH-1, when the video for “Run” was popular. I enjoyed that song enough to buy its parent album. A few years later, when “Chasing Cars” came out as the first single from the band’s second album, I was psyched that they had a legitimate smash on their hands. “Chasing Cars” was anthemic and hooky, tailor made for waving lighters (or phones) in crowded arenas. There was more than a little U2 in that chorus (this is a very good thing in my book.
“Chasing Cars” became more than a legitimate smash. It was everywhere for a minute. I totally understand why people got sick of it. I didn’t, but for the first few years of release it was merely a solid 4 star song for me.
Then my friend Tyler died by suicide in 2013. It was only the second most shattering thing to happen in my orbit in 2013, with the first being the fact that I spent a month in a psychiatric facility. I met Tyler in that psychiatric facility. We befriended one another during lunch breaks, and wound up hanging out fairly regularly for a couple of months before he decided to leave Boston and return to Oregon. We kept in touch by text, but those tailed off after a while. Foolishly I guess, I assumed that being around his family and having a job stabilized him a bit and he was just too busy to keep in touch as much as we used to. Plus, if either of us was in crisis, there wasn’t much we could do being on opposite sides of the country from one another.
June 25th was already going to be a weird day for me because it was (and still is, obviously) the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death. My morning Facebook procedure to this day is to first check to see who’s celebrating a birthday on that day and post a greeting on their wall, or text/email for friends that I feel a bit closer to. I noticed it was Tyler’s birthday, migrated over to his page to leave him a note, and very quickly realized that he’d passed away five days before. He would’ve turned 25.
Someone-I think it might have been his girlfriend-posted the lyrics to “Chasing Cars” on Tyler’s Facebook page a day or two later. It might have even been that same day. Once I saw that post and dug back into the lyrics, I knew that every single time I heard “Chasing Cars” from that moment on, that kid’s face would pop into my head. Which makes the song much more difficult to listen to, but also makes it that much more meaningful and valuable to me. Reading the words again as I type this blurb up, these lyrics in particular grab me as I think about Tyler and the two friends I’ve lost to suicide in the almost five years since.
I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own