When You’re Gone: A Tribute to Dolores O’Riordan

If you know me at all, you had to know this was coming.

I am devastated.

Why? Because (I hope) everyone has that band, that musician who has acted as their buoy in life; who has kept them from drowning at one time or another. That band for me has been the Cranberries.

The first time I heard the Cranberries, I was in fifth grade. Life was not great for me then. Looking back, I now know I was dealing with crippling anxiety. But at the time, I was just a reclusive outcast who wanted so badly to find a friend who understood her. That friend became music. The angstier and more melodramatic, the better. Dolores had a voice that matched what I was feeling. Do you know what a gift that is to a shy, overweight girl who is approaching adolescence?

Fast forward through the years and the Cranberries were always there. Not just for me, but for everyone. Maybe it’s because I loved them so much, but I can’t think of a band that signifies the 90’s more than them. Their presence extended beyond the record store and into movies, television, and the pop culture lexicon. Even without listening to their music, you knew they were out there.

The Cranberries became one of those bands that I couldn’t wait to share with my own children. They would be the band that I would offer up to my kids when they asked the questions “Well, what did YOU used to listen to?”

I started introducing the Cranberries to Dorothy when she was in the womb. I belted out their songs in the shower and cranked it up while I dressed in the morning. I thought if I did some imprinting, then Dorothy would inevitably sing along with me.

Then, Dorothy died.

Dorothy was gone and yet, the music still played. Now, these songs took on a whole new meaning for me. I no longer just sang along, I actually sat and listened. Just like when I was young and feeling misunderstood, I sat and tried to absorb every note and lyric. The Cranberries were no longer the friend I had been searching for; they were my lifeline.

There was a lot of music that made an impact on my life after Dorothy died. I even wrote a post about all of the artists that kept me going during the worst year of my life.  I have always had this idea that I would sit down someday and, through my writing, share with these artists what their music has meant to me in my grief.

Today, when I heard Dolores was gone, one of my first thoughts was “She’ll never know what she meant to me.” Not that it would have held the same impact on her, but it was more the idea that another tie to Dorothy had been severed. Dolores is gone and it’s no longer possible for me to tell her that she carried me through one of the darkest times of my life.

And then, I was reminded of the lyrics to my favorite song by the Cranberries. The same words that had held so much meaning when Dorothy died.

And in the night I could be helpless
I could be lonely, slipping without you
And in the day, everything’s complex
There’s nothing simple when I’m not around you

And I miss you when you’re gone
That is what I do, baby, baby, baby
And it’s going to carry on
That is what I do, hey baby, baby



Leave a Reply