There’s a tear in my beer

Krystle - Champaign, Illinois
Entered on May 10, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in music. I believe it can break through any silence. Everybody has songs that can bring back memories, as well as lost loved ones.

My grandpa loved to sing, especially old gospel and country songs. He used to sing “Tear in My Beer” by Hank Williams Sr. to my sisters and I. He had a strong clear voice, and everybody always wanted him to sing. Sometimes, however, he did not feel like singing; he needed to sit by himself in silence, sipping his drink and smoking. A couple years ago my grandpa got very sick. He had a stroke, found he had lung cancer, an aneurism in his heart, and his liver was failing him, as well. He didn’t have long. I saw my grandpa for the last time on August 8, 2007. He lay in bed, hooked to an oxygen machine. He told us he had finished his work here, and wanted to go sing with the angels. Before we left he sang “Tear in My Beer” to my sisters and I one last time.

No song has ever affected me so such, though I never realized how much it touched me until that day. As I sat at his bedside I told him I had been thinking about that song he always sang, and how I would hate to never it again. He belted out the words with all his strength and we all sang along. We enjoyed hearing him sing again. Before I left I asked him if he would sing with me when I got to heaven, he smiled and said, “Of course I will!”

Two days later my dad called to say grandpa had passed away. When I got home that night I listened to “Tear in My Beer” and cried. I had always equated this song with grandpa because he sang it, but now it meant even more. Whenever I smell beer I think about how he smelled, like he’d spent hours in a bar; smoke and beer lingered on his breath. It always comforted me as a child. Now I often sing to myself, “There’s a tear in my beer ’cause I’m crying for you dear. You are on my lonely mind….” When I sing I feel my grandpa beside me, singing along.

I remember my grandpa smiling and singing, not sitting in silence. He said he did not want people mourning him; he wanted them to remember the jokes, the stories, and most of all the songs they had shared. Instead of mourning, we celebrated my grandpa’s death as a release from pain and the beginning of a new song.

Because of my grandpa I believe you are never alone if you have a song in your heart that you share with someone special. I believe in music’s healing powers and ability to surpass even the boundaries of time. I learned from my grandpa that sometimes silence is necessary, but music always endures.