My Song For Sasha

My Song for Sasha

It started one evening as I was listening to Garth Brooks’ song ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’:

And if my time on earth were through
And she must face this world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes


No, I am not planning on going anywhere. And I hope to be around to torture her with my dad jokes, bore her to tears with my stories and offer her loads of useless advice for many, many years to come. But what song would I write for her, what advice would I offer her on so many challenges and joys she will face in the future? Not being a songwriter myself, I thought I would turn to the words of others who have shared their advice and meaning of life with us through their songs.

So, in no particular order, here is “My Song for Sasha”.




Love comes in so many forms: love of life, love of family, love of friends, love of your partner. But never overlook the love of self. This is not vanity; this is not narcissism. It is an essential quality. For how can others love you if you do not love yourself?

For this song I have chosen ‘The Greatest Love Of All’ by one of your favourite performers, Whitney Houston:

Because the greatest love of all is happening to me.
I found the greatest love of all inside of me.
The greatest love of all is easy to achieve.
Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.



It will have its ups and downs, but I promise you there are always more ups than downs – and life is what you make of it.

For my second song to you, I have chosen my mother’s favourite song, ‘Desiderata’. So much great advice on living life and what to expect from it crammed into one song. My chosen lines to you are:

You are a child of the universe.
No less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.



Yes, there will be loss in your life: loss of innocence, loss of dreams, loss of hope, occasionally – and sadly, loss of life. Some will experience it sooner than others, some more than others and I can only hope you experience as little of it as possible. But remember, despite the hurt and the pain and the feeling that you can’t go on, you can and you will.

This song is by R.E.M. and it is called ‘Everybody Hurts’:

Don’t let yourself go
‘Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes



So, this is a tricky one. Religion means so much to so many people. What advice can I offer you here? Perhaps it is to trust in your own beliefs and allow others to trust in theirs. Have respect for others, even if their beliefs may differ from your own. Don’t be swayed too easily to change yours either, even when the time comes that you do have unanswered questions. Even if you don’t always have or understand religion, have faith.

Of course, I turned to one of our favorites for this one, Jeff Buckley and ‘Hallelujah’:

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not someone who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah



My advice? Don’t rush to grow up even as you grow older. Enjoy your youth and hold onto it. The advice may not be easy to follow but the choice of song was a no-brainer. It’s one I have sung to you so many times; we have listened to countless times; and, of course, I have written these words to you too.

‘Forever Young’ by Bob Dylan, poet extraordinaire:

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift

May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay
Forever young


Hopes & Dreams

The things that life is made from. Dream big, young lady, for really big things await you. But don’t forget to wipe that sleep from your eyes and go out there and make them come true. I already marvel at your strength and commitment and how you chase your dreams. Keep that up!

Couldn’t write the whole song without a little Disney, could I? It’s ‘The Circle Of Life’ from The Lion King, featuring Carmen Twillie, Lebo M:

It’s the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life



Of course, you will face disappointment in your life – we all do. But how you choose to react to it is in your hands and yours alone. Face it, head on. It’s not going anywhere. Then lift your head and move on. There is so much more waiting for you to achieve and succeed at. Disappointment is temporary. So much more awaits you.

Here is a Leonard Cohen song, one of the few we have not listened to together – yet. It is called ‘Anthem’:

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I seem to hear them say
Don’t dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.


Sickness & Pain

We all face sickness and pain. I know you have seen it around you, watched how challenging it can be, how much it takes from all of us. There are no guarantees in life, and sickness comes to us when we least expect it and certainly feel like we least deserve it. Look after yourself. Guard your health and never trade it for wealth. For no amount of wealth can bring you health.

Take a listen to Wilson Phillips performing ‘Hold On’:

I know that there is pain
But you hold on for one more day and
Break free the chains
Yeah I know that there is pain
But you hold on for one more day and you
Break free, break from the chains


Your Body

Eventually I was going to have to turn to ‘Class Of 99 Wear Sunscreen’, a song recorded by Baz Luhrman – and, of course, I am going to send you to the video I made for you and Awa so long ago. With over 2m views, it can’t be too bad. Look after your body and enjoy it. Be proud of it and love it!

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can
Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it
It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own, dance
Even if you have nowhere to do it but your own living room
Read the directions even if you don’t follow them
Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly


On Being A Woman

Of course, I have absolutely no experience on this subject but hey, that has never stopped me from voicing my opinion now, has it? As I watch you grow up from this amazing young girl into a spirited and independent woman, I just burst with pride. My advice? Be a strong, independent woman! Or perhaps that is three pieces of advice in one: Be STRONG. Value yourself and your own beliefs; fight for them and for those of the people around you that you care for. Be INDEPENDENT. That does not mean be alone; it does not mean never accept or seek help when you need it. It means learn to rely on yourself too. Learn to trust your own judgment and don’t be led by those around you simply because they are louder than you are. Be A WOMAN, and be proud of it! You are this remarkable mixture of strength and vulnerability; physically strong, mentally tough, and yet, still so sensitive to those around you. It is what makes you YOU and it always will. Don’t give any of that up.

Here are the words of Helen Reddy and ‘I am Woman’:

I am woman, watch me grow
See me standing toe-to-toe
As I spread my loving arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand


Growing Older

It may seem a million years away but eventually, it catches up with all of us. You may not have the option of growing older but you can choose not to grow old. Those moments come at a different time for each of us, and for me, it came at the age of 48 years, 1 month and 1 day. That was the moment I realised I was now older than my mom was when she passed away. I was not afraid or suddenly sad – I was filled with a desire to live every second as best I could.

Here is Neil Young’s ‘Old Man’:

Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.

Old man look at my life,
Twenty four
and there’s so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two.

Love lost, such a cost,
Give me things
that don’t get lost.
Like a coin that won’t get tossed
Rolling home to you.



So, maybe I am not the best person to offer you advice on this topic. It’s not my strong suit, but then there is so much more to life than just money. Of course, it is important and it buys so many of the essential and wonderful things you need and want. Just be careful you don’t trade too much for it. Find the balance and look after it.

Here is Tevia from Fiddler on the Roof with ‘If I Were a Rich Man’:

Dear God, you made many, many poor people.
I realize, of course, that it’s no shame to be poor.
But it’s no great honor either!
So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune

Lord who made the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am.
Would it spoil some vast eternal plan?
If I were a wealthy man.



You have heard my advice on boys so many times. A boy only needs to have three qualities: He must respect you for who you are; he must be able to make a decent braai (BBQ); and he must support Liverpool. Liverpool supporters understand pain; they understand waiting; and they understand that you can’t always get what you want.

Here are the Rolling Stones with ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’:

I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need



Nice girls, mean girls, girls that care and girls that don’t – you are sure to cross paths with all of them from time to time. Friends are important. They will be with you through the good times and the bad – but not always. Don’t judge too quickly if they’re not. We all have our lives to live and sometimes we get caught up in our own stuff. Cherish the friends you make and especially the ones you keep.

A compilation list without The Beatles would just be wrong, so here’s ‘A Little Help From My Friends’:

What do I do when my love is away?
(Does it worry you to be alone?)
How do I feel by the end of the day?
(Are you sad because you’re on your own?)
No I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm gonna try with a little help from my friends



Some marriages work, some don’t. Sadly, you and almost everyone else know that already. In Class of 99, he says: “Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t; maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t; maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.” I wish I could tell you that everything is forever, but it just ain’t. I believe the secret is in communication and forgiveness – and I will get to that a bit later. He’s out there somewhere, Bubster.

You knew I was going to sneak Brandi Carlile in here somewhere with ‘The Story’:

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to
It’s true… I was made for you



Well, I certainly can’t tell you what work to do. That’s changing way too fast! I mean, who would have thought you could grow up to be a YouTuber and make more money than God? There are so many clichés out there, like: “Do what you love and love what you do”, and a multitude of others. My advice? Follow your passion and put in the 10 000 hours that Malcolm Gladwell spoke about in Outliers. You will be so happy you did. There will be times you may be doing a less-than-ideal job and earning a less-than-ideal wage. Work it! There are opportunities out there.

An iconic, upbeat song that has some pretty hard-hitting lines about work, here is Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’:

Workin’ 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin’
Barely gettin’ by
It’s all takin’ and no givin’

They just use your mind
And they never give you credit
It’s enough to drive you
Crazy if you let it


Letting Go Of The Past

You want real happiness. “There’s the rub,” as The Bard would say. Learn to forgive, learn to forget, and learn to move on. Harbouring grudges is like slowly taking poison in the hope that the other person will die. Of course, people will wrong you. Of course, not everything will go your way. It’s not about burning bridges, it’s about letting go and forgiving – not for their sake but for your soul’s sake.

Here is Johnny Nash singing about when things clear up, in ‘I Can See Clearly Now’:

Oh, yes I can make it now the pain is gone.
All of the bad feelings have disappeared.
Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for.
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
bright (bright) sunshiny day.


While I Am Here

I am your dad – always will be! Yes, you have me wrapped around your little finger and there is nowhere I would rather be. I will be here when you need me and I will be here when you don’t. As I once wrote to you, when you came into my life, I was filled with such lofty ambitions and high ideals. I was going to teach you right from wrong; and I was going to teach you to be a good person, to show kindness, to give charity, to care for others and to put them first. I was going to teach you to live your life to the fullest, to see the fun in all you do, to suck the marrow from the bones of life and to never waste a single second. Little did I know that Hashem had, in fact, sent you to teach ME those lessons! And for that, I am eternally grateful to BOTH of you.

For my inspiration, I turned to “The Boss”, Bruce Springsteen, with ‘When You Need Me’:

When you need me call my name
‘Cause without you my life just wouldn’t be the same
If you want me come sunny skies or rain
When you need me just call my name


One Day When I Am Gone

I know this is the one you don’t want to read or even think about. But one day, you will face the world without me. It will be a long time from now and nothing I say will prepare you for it. But you are strong. And the love and lessons we have shared you will pass on to your family. Will I ever be able to tell you how much I love you or how much you mean to me? I doubt it. So, I will simply have to show you, instead.

There are no sad songs for this one, only sunshine. ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole:

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney top
That’s where you’ll find me

Oh, somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly
And the dream that you dare to,
Oh why, oh why can’t I?


I can only hope you smiled through that and even laughed a little. Perhaps you shed a tear or struggled to swallow the lump in your throat. This is not just for you, Bubster, it’s for so many who just need to be reminded from time to time. You inspire me every day through your deeds and actions and this is just a little something from me to you. I can only hope it will help inspire and guide you in the years to come.


To those of you who have stumbled upon this piece, thank you for taking the time and trouble to read it. I hope it has brought you some joy. Feel free to share it as you like and drop me a note if you feel there is a lesson I missed or a song that means something to you. Thank you, all.


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  1. Thank you! For a million reasons!

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