The Song in 'Moana' That Helped Me Grieve

Last year just a few days after Easter, my younger brother and only sibling ended his life by suicide. The days following the tragic news I spent surrounded by my friends and family. I felt like I was drowning. I could not eat, I could not sleep, I could not do anything but cry.

I cried while I was in the shower, I cried on my husband’s shoulder and I cried while trying to sip my coffee. My body felt like I was wearing 50-pound sand bags. So heavy, like I was moving in slow motion through quicksand. I could barely recognize the woman I saw when I peered into the mirror. I had sallow skin, my eyes were swollen and encircled with a black ring. I absolutely could not believe it, and I am still and struggling to come to terms that I will never see my brother again.

I truly believe in signs. Maybe you do too? Maybe you see something that reminds you of your loved one, or maybe it is a song that comes on the radio when you are
feeling particularly blue. Because family and friends were visiting sunrise to sunset following the days that my brother died, we started letting our then
almost 3-year-old watch Moana in my parent’s basement for what felt like a
million times. He was feeling particularly enthusiastic about the movie as he
had received it days earlier in his Easter basket. We did not typically let him
watch much TV, but in this moment it was our saving grace. I quickly memorized
every damn song in that movie, but there was one that resonated with my so
deeply that I cried even harder every time I heard it.

Here are the lyric to Moana’s, “Know Who You Are.”

I have crossed the horizon to find you

I know your name

They have stolen the heart from inside you 

But this does not define you

This is not who you are

You know who you are 

During this scene the ocean parts and the lead female character, Moana. starts walking towards the evil fire monster. She explains that this moment does not define her. She gently presses her forehead in hers to show acceptance and forgiveness.

I am getting teary just reading the lyrics and listening to the song again. Because as I sat there on my parent’s couch with my husband and son, I said over and over to myself, “This does not define you.” This was not who my brother was and this small moment in time does not define him as a person. This gives me great peace. This moment in the movie is extremely powerful and emotion filled. I feel like this was my sign to remember and honor my brother for the truly amazing man that he was. I love you, Alex.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Lead photo via Moana Facebook page

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Grief

Anxious Indian woman waiting for a job interview while sitting on a row of chairs

When You Lose Yourself to Grief

“I ain’t afraid to die anymore. I’d done it already.” Hugh Glass, “The Revenant” Grief is a multifaceted response to loss, particularly the loss of someone or something that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social and [...]
The author and his wife

A Father's Perspective on Losing a Baby

Mental health, an issue that has impacted many lives across the globe. Whilst policy-makers, scholars, charities and experts attempt to address this pandemic, lives continue to be lost at an alarming rate. In 2017, Samaritans published a report which found that 6,639 people in the U.K. and Republic of Ireland had died by suicide that year. [...]

When You're Struggling With the Heartache of Grief

Death happens. It is a natural occurrence that we can expect to experience eventually. Sometimes it happens sooner than expected, and other times it feels like a long time coming. No matter how prepared — or unprepared — we feel we are to lose a loved one, the feeling of heartache can be unmanageable. It [...]
A woman falling

The Gravity of My Grief

My mother-in-law of 22 years died last Saturday at 96, as we, her girls, sat vigil. Her breathing sounds had changed, “wet breathing” they called it. I thought if we could move her onto her side it might release some of the fluid. It is important to use gravity in those circumstances, so as to [...]