Farewell My Friend – Dennis Wilson

Farewell my friend
My beautiful friend
Farewell

You take the high road
And I’ll take the low road
And we’ll meet again
Farewell my friend

I love you
In a funny way

You take the high road
I’ll take the low road
And we will meet again
Farewell my friend

Oh I want to see you again
Oh farewell
Farewell
Oh I want to see you again
Farewell
Oh I’m on the mountain again
Oh farewell
Oh I want to see you again
Oh my friend
Oh that’s when I’ll see you again
Farewell
Oh I want to see you again

Losing a friend who is very dear to you is a very painful thing. It weighs heavily on the heart and leaves a scar that can sometimes take years to heal. It’s not easy to have somebody you share a part of your life with, shared lots of fun moments and sad experiences with, simply disappear all of a sudden. Even if you lose that friend in a terminal illness that saps away life slowly. There is still that something that feels all too sudden when this person leaves for good. This is what the slow and repetitively haunting lyrics of Dennis Wilson’s Farewell My Friend likes to convey.

The song is short but it makes a sad melody with the song having sung in a slow manner mixed with Wilson’s raspy voice. The lyrics to the tune are very simple, it just mainly consists of, “Farewell my friend/ My beautiful friend/Farewell/You take the high road/And I’ll take the low road/And we’ll meet again/Farewell my friend” This evokes the numbing feeling of shock and depression. This shows that the pain of grief can be so paralyzing it can stun us into mumbling words almost repeatedly. This, however, normal especially during the first few days of hearing the news of a friend’s loss.

This reminds us of the story of the Epic of Gilgamesh. The pain of feeling the loss of one’s friend is so great that is goes across time and culture, even way back in old Mesopotamia. It’s quite a long story by the main conflict of the story revolves around Gilgamesh’s quest for immortality. This began when a close friend of his, Enkidu, died from an illness as a punishment from the gods. The two were as close brothers, fighting off hordes of demons and beasts and had real fun together. But when Enkidu died on his deathbed, Gilgamesh spared to time and mobilized all the best physicians and wizards across his realm to heal him – all in vain. He stayed with his friend in his chambers until the room smelled foul, not wanting to let go, not wanting to believe his friend is gone. It was only when he saw a worm fall from Enkidu’s nose that he gave up hope and finally told his servants to prepare his body for a funeral ceremony. With the epic being the first one to be ever written in recorded history having the pain of losing a friend and the emphasis of one’s own mortality as one of its central themes shows just how profound this conversation is.

All across time, we see this as a recurring theme. Grief is something that is universally understood by all. No matter how barbaric a society may be. Elaborate funeral customs are a testament to this. Warrior societies honor fallen friends and comrades. Romans even erected epitaphs for their pet dogs that died, stating how this ancient society revered their dogs not as mere animals but as friends. Friends who are dear to us never seem to leave our hearts and memories.

This is totally something that people look for, sometimes if we lose people we feel so bad about it that we just want to join them or feel like their deaths are not the end of the road, that we will see them sometime soon, that they are in a nice place, chilling somewhere. “And we’ll meet again” somehow someway, gives us a soothing effect that holds our hands through the process of grief. If you are looking for a funeral song for a very good friend who just passed away, this is might just be the one for you.

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