Hamilton and Grief

If you’re like me, you’ve spent the better part of this past month watching Hamilton on repeat (thank you Disney+.) I was a late Hamilfan, and my mom and sister delighted with glee over my newfound discovery (that they’d long since discovered and loved.)

I’d been warned about the child loss connection in the show, but I also knew the story (not the show) so knew his son died in a duel. I’d read several stories that biographers wrote about how devastated Alexander and Eliza were and how much it changed them. (Even writing that sounds absurd to me…because OF COURSE THEY WERE. Of COURSE it did!) I think a lot of people figure that hundreds of years ago, people were used to some pretty horrific things, so death of your son by duel just “happened” back then. We know how far society has come in accepting grief as a constant part of the bereaved parents’ life and while we are light years ahead of where we were even just from the 1960s (and certainly from the 1800s) it is still an ongoing uphill climb for those of us who live with the pain every day.

I imagine most would assume that the song “It’s Quiet¬†Uptown” would be the one that guts me. There was commentary done about how smart Miranda was to have Angelica actually sing that song. It was too painful for Alexander and Eliza to do so. So she had to speak for them. It’s true. It’s a beautifully written song, but if I’m being honest, it’s not the one that haunts me or the one whose lyrics sing out in my mind.

The very last song. “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” utterly destroys me. I have watched the show (embarrassingly about 6 times) and I’ve only watched through to the end once.

“The Lord, in his kindness
He gives me what you always wanted
He gives me more time (time)”

…”Will they tell our story? (will they tell your story?) Oh, can I show you what I’m proudest of?”

…”And when my time is up, have I done enough? Will they tell my story? (will they tell your story?)
Oh, I can’t wait to see you again!
It’s only a matter of time¬†”

When you lose your child, nothing matters more than keeping their memory alive. Cultivating their legacy. Keeping them “in the narrative.” Nothing matters more in my life than hearing Kate’s name on the lips of others. We don’t have any other children to tell our story when we’re gone. We have you.

Thank you for helping us tell her story.