When I was pregnant, I was very mindful about the music that I played for Sacha. I love music, and I wanted to pass that appreciation on to him. More than that, though, I wanted to build a history between him and music, so that music would be available as a soothing go-to throughout his entire life. Music is free, it’s not harmful or destructive, it’s not addictive. It has been a good home-base for me, and I wanted Sacha to have the same.

Because sound travels faster in liquid than the air, I thought that most music on the radio might be a little too stressful for him. So I searched for songs with a slow, consistent bass line or a background piano melody. Especially if I could replicate that simple melody on the piano myself.

I don’t really know what I’m doing on the piano, but I played a little bit for him every day. In the past, I babysat many small children who loved the piano, and I learned how to teach some of them the basics that I know. I was so excited to teach Sacha… to teach him that there were purely happy and fun parts of life for him to enjoy, share with me and share with others. With the same thought, I moved to an apartment with a pool and could not wait to get him in the water. What could I give my son? Music. Water. Safety. Calm. Those things are love to me.

I haven’t played piano since Sacha was born, and until today I have not listened to any of his songs. Today I’m thinking about him and missing him so much, especially as I finally attempt to grapple with the grisly and awful realities of his very short life. While I’m thinking about his pain and suffering today, I also see so many kids on the street for Halloween (this year Sacha would have been a squash, next year he would have been Sasquatch – “running stiffly” as the ASQs say – and after that he would have picked his own costume — but no weapons allowed, and there would be many extensive discussions about race).

For the first time, I’m listening to “Sacha’s playlist”. I wanted these bass lines and piano melodies to run through Sacha’s life, comforting him and connecting him. Maybe they did, if only briefly. Now they remind me of the calm days that came before the awful ones. Of laying on my back with my hands on my belly, feeling my mysterious little boy kick against the mysterious inner surfaces of my body.

Dogs – Damien Rice

Shining – Badly Drawn Boy

Jack-Ass – Beck

Timshel – Mumford & Sons

Heartbeats – Jose Gonzalez cover

Appalachian Spring, Doppio movimento – Aaron Copland

And So It Goes – Billy Joel

Oh Very Young – Cat Stevens

Passenger Seat – Death Cab for Cutie

Finish Line – Snow Patrol

Low Rising – The Swell Season

Re: Stacks – Bon Iver

Wisconsin – Bon Iver

Champagne Supernova – Oasis

Naked As We Came – Iron & Wine

Wise Up – Aimee Mann

Both Hands – Ani Difranco

Finish Line – Snow Patrol

Walk Away – Ben Harper

Prodigal Son – Ashton Allen

A List of Sound – Matt Pond PA

Love You All – Cloud Cult

Mayfly – Belle & Sebastian

If You Find Yourself Caught In Love – Belle & Sebastian

Songs of Love – Ben Folds

Quiet Things No One Ever Knows – Brandnew

Outloud – Dispatch

The Best of What’s Around – Dave Matthews Band

Lie in Our Graves – Dave Matthews Band

Something – The Beatles

Now We Are Free – Hans Zimmer (Gladiator soundtrack)

And because even babies floating in amniotic fluid should have a little fun…

So What Does it all Mean – Average Joe/Jonny Was (Shane West’s band. Sacha may have been the only fetus in history intentionally exposed to Shane West’s recordings! There’s a solid bass line, just what I wanted for my little guy’s earliest days.)

If you’ve read this far… One song that we did listen to on the radio was Stubborn Love by The Lumineers. When we were young, we did enough. When it got cold, we bundled up. I couldn’t be told that it couldn’t be done. We kept our heads up. We also listened to Team by Lorde. And occasionally we listened to The A Team by Ed Sheeran, but I didn’t tell him it was about drugs and prostitution.