Tag Archives: Brookdale Senior Living

‘Play Me One More Song That I’ll Always Remember’

Song has the power to totally capture a memory or preserve a time in life that is worth remembering. Everyone most likely has a song that transports them back in time and helps them relive a painful, sweet or wistful memory. Music is truly the thread that stitches together the sometimes-ragged patches of our lives.

This was quite powerfully the case during the last weeks of my mother’s life in December 2018. The title song from Kenny Loggins’ debut solo album, Celebrate Me Home, became the anthem for the walk I made to see my mother off to Heaven. Just the first few twinkling notes on the piano are enough to bring me back, and draw bittersweet tears from my eyes. Every time.

“Play me one more song that I’ll always remember.”

I often listened to CDs on my drive each evening to the Brookdale Senior Living care center where Mom spent her final months. One of my favorites was Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, a compendium of greatest hits by Kenny Loggins. The first time I heard Track 14, Celebrate Me Home, I sensed it was previewing the events that would soon unfold, leading up to Mom’s death at age 86.

Mom holding Ruby Hanneman, flanked by cousins Samantha and Abby Hanneman.

Each night after Mom fell asleep watching television, I would quietly slip out and make the 10-minute drive home. Many times I played that CD. Celebrate Me Home always  put a lump in my throat. I could sense a little more every day that Mom was moving closer to her eternal home.

Please, celebrate me home
Give me a number
Please, celebrate me home
Play me one more song
That I’ll always remember

In the early morning hours of Dec. 27, 2018, this song overwhelmed me on my drive home. Searing tears made it hard to see the road. Mom had passed away two hours prior, just before midnight on Dec. 26. (I wrote about that elsewhere on this site.)

As I pulled up to the  stoplight at Broadway Drive and Highway 19, the lyrics hit me in a way they hadn’t before. Celebrate. Home. Beyond the grief was the reality that Mom’s going home was a cause for celebration. No doubt all of Heaven celebrated that night, for she entered eternity free from pain, sickness and the worries of this world. Just one day beyond Christmas, her favorite holiday.

Home for the holidays
I believe I’ve missed each and every face
Come on and play one easy
Let’s turn on every love light in the place
It’s time I found myself
Totally surrounded in your circles
Oh my friends
Please, celebrate me home…

For many months after Mom’s funeral, I could not listen to the Kenny Loggins CD. That song. It was seared into my brain like the work of a branding iron. Too painful. But eventually I found myself listening again. Now I could see through the pain, and felt the hope and joy in the melody and lyrics. Celebrate, celebrate. Celebrate me home.

Play me one more song
That I’ll always remember
I can recall whenever I
Find myself too all alone
I can sing me — home

I am forever grateful for the incredible talent that went into making Celebrate Me Home. It will always be atop my all-time play list. Until that one day when others might sing this beautiful song to celebrate me home. •

– Listen to a sample at the iTunes Store. 

– Watch a live rendition below from Kenny Loggins at The Grand Canyon