Behind the Music: “Seeing Ghosts”


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When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

When you’re a songwriter

The writing switch flipped in me several years ago. I’ve written blogs and other content, and even music for many years, writing a song for each son as they were born, a song about our journey through four miscarriages that I sometimes share with friends who are on that same heart-wrenching journey, and little ditties here and there.

But now, I can hardly go a day without hearing a phrase and thinking, “Now that’s a song.”

That’s how I felt when I started reading a blog post by my good friend Geraldine Renton earlier this year (reprinted later on The Huffington Post here). It was a powerful piece about the diagnosis of her son Ethan with Hunter Syndrome, the same disease that affects our son Case (read more).

It began with the idea that silence can be so very loud. Yes. That.

When you are in a state of numbness from pain and heartache. You see the world going on around you, but you can’t hear it. You can’t interact. All that’s right seems wrong.

You have a perfect child one moment, then a dying child the next. Your loved one is taken too soon. The one you love is overseas or traveling or otherwise has left you.

Geraldine’s point hit home.

That conflict, that tension, is so much a part of songwriting. And, it so well explains heart wrenching emotions that don’t make sense.

I happened to read Geraldine’s post when my husband was gone for three weeks on his Retire Inspired book tour. My emotions were on a roller coaster juggling three kids and missing my husband terribly yet admiring his drive and purpose. But nearing the end of that three-week period, I stepped on a plane with the boys to fly to Austin, Texas, to surprise my husband (and to share in the joy of the book being #1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list – yay!).

Music studio and guitar

In the studio, recording “Seeing Ghosts”

But with people sitting all around me on the plane, and my boys fully occupied by electronics, the words just started flowing. Whether about my husband or loved ones leaving us too soon, on the short flight from Nashville to Austin, I wrote most of this song.

And now, in reflection upon the terrible events in Orlando (“I’m blinded by the screams of an invisible crowd”), the loss of rare disease spotlighter Christina Grimmie (“I’m singing the melody of an unwritten song”), and the loss my friend’s son Tucker to Hunter Syndrome (“You’re living a sunset, I’m watching the dawn”), there are so many lines that are blindsiding me with multiple meanings that I hope people can relate to in their own circumstances. I’m hearing them in ways as if I never even wrote the song myself. I’d love it if you’d take a read of the lyrics after the SoundCloud and comment with what they mean to you.

I hope you enjoy it and that it speaks to you. If so, please SHARE it and COMMENT below!

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© 2016 Melissa Hogan. All rights reserved.

I can hear the silence, it’s so very loud
I’m blinded by the screams of an invisible crowd
I’m singing the melody of an unwritten song
Life is downside up since you’ve been gone

Colors changed, they turned to black and white
Memories faded in the middle of the night
I’m running in place with my eyes wide closed
I see your face, but I’m seeing ghosts

Watching the sunrise in the middle of the night
The backside of the mirror reflects the most light
All that’s right seems wrong
Life is downside up since you’ve been gone

Colors changed, they turned to black and white
Memories faded in the middle of the night
I’m running in place with my eyes wide closed
I see your face, but I’m seeing ghosts

Seeing ghosts
Only ghosts

I feel your whisper inside my soul
I’ve lost my youth, but I’ll never grow old
You’re living a sunset, I’m watching the dawn
It’s quiet here, but I’m singing this song
Life is downside up since you’ve been gone

Life is downside up since you’ve been gone
Since you’ve been gone





Last modified: December 31, 2017

One Response to " Behind the Music: “Seeing Ghosts” "

  1. Teresa says:

    This is great and so true. To me, as a grandmother who has raised my granddaughter who has Hurler Syndrome, it means that I’ve seen one child pass, the day is gone, I’m still waiting to see how long, my child will make it. Th “I’m running in place” means, to me, that one tries so hard but sometimes you just cannot make the child live, your spinning in your tracks, those tracks of tears, pain, anger, regret, hardship. I’ve stayed in a transplant unit with Kylie Rose for over a year, I’ve watched her endure high dose chemo to deplete her bone marrow and to take her to the brink of death so we could infuse her with unrelated cord blood stem cell because she had no siblings, no bone marrow match, just trying to beat the clock, to make her live! She hit every hurdle ,every rock in the road, my angel, my determination, will power, motivation, my Rose and my life! She has made me who I am today. Because of her ,I went to college at 42 yrs of age, worked with special needs children, found out I had Multiple Sclerosis, still tutor from my home, care for my mother with Alzheimer’s disease and saw my dad dye in my arms with cancer. I’ve see many children die, at Duke stem Cell unit, and many live, because my child, my granddaughter tried this experimental procedure so others might see the light at the end of the tunnel and have a chance at life. I’ve held tubes in her and watched her hair fall out, her bleed from her bottom and mouth due to extensive high dose chemo. I never wanted to see the team of doctors come to Kylie roses room, because it usually met they were dying and once you start the procedure then there was no turning Bach, it was “all or nothing”. Today, she is sixteen, she is 4’7″tall and weighs 87 pds.. She’s an angelic young lady who doesn’t know what bad is. She is a fighter, a trooper, but they, the doctors never told that it was a lifetime battle, that the journey never stops. She’s had bilateral wrist surgery, bilateral knees surgery, bilateral ankle surgery, and a left hip reconstruction at 11yrs of age and then a right grip reconstruction at age 13, she is legally blind now and we go back 1-3times to Duke , a year. We travel on June the 27th to have a transplant due to her. Clouded corneas and so the doctors will transplant the worse eye and if it doesn’t reject then they will do the right eye in months ahead. She has made my life complete and encouraged me to fight my MS which is getting worse and my macular degeneration allows me to experience how she feels. She has MPS 1and me MS.bwe both have demylenation of the brain. We both see blurry. I pray her surgery works, I grew. Up so poor, the first women in my family from generations back to graduate high school, attend college, fight to achieve the possibility to learn medicine, law, to feel life! The invisable crowd ,to me, are the ones around you that do not understand the pain, the suffering, the heartache, the “not giving up” the going that extra mile! The memories fade but the reality sticks with you of what has happened. The terrible thoughts of the terrible things I’ve seen, experienced with Kylie and the scarlet folder I keep, filled with the pictures of the children that didn’t make it. Their lives met something! It’s all real! Your song does the memories justice. I discovered your song “alive” on the internet facebook and I simply love it. You are so talented. I’m a hard worker, raised the daughter of a coal miner, poor but I’ve learned, read, fought, clawed my way to see what is important in life.

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