So many articles have been written since Dolores passed about how The Cranberries were the "Soundtrack to my teenage years". And for me she absolutely was, but she was also the soundtrack to my twenties and my thirties. Her music after the 90's didn't hit the same successful plateau, but that doesn't make it any less important to me. "Are You Listening?" to me is her best album and my all time favorite album of any artist.
In almost 23 years I don't think I have gone a single day without listening to one of Dolores' songs. But after she died... I couldn't listen to her voice. Her music has seen me though so many happy and sad times in my life, yet I just couldn't turn to it during this one.
So, I set my phone's music player to random and decided I would see how I feel when one of her songs came up. I faithfully follow about 30 other artists and listen to them all the time. But since I have basically everything Dolores has every released it is very rare to go a couple hours without one of her songs coming on random. It was absurd... it didn't play a single Dolores song, not after a day, or two days.... or even a week. It was like there was some sort of greater force that knew I wasn't ready....
Exactly one week later, the Monday after she passed, on my way to work, finally "Away" came on. The lyrics were more poignant than ever. "Turn away from me.", "Another world, wrapped up inside another day. And I hope and I pray that the pain goes away.". I don't believe in religion but I do believe in a higher power guiding us and I believe this was the exact song I needed to hear at the exact moment I needed it.
I than spent the next week listening to all her albums in chronological order. I cried a whole bunch, I remembered going to her concerts and feverishly anticipating new albums. I was reminded of personal experiences and how my life has grown and changed along with her music. I thought about the friends who have come and gone from my life, with whom Dolores' music connected us. I thought about the loved ones who didn't quite get her music, and the feeling I got when I introduced them to that one song that they ended up loving.
For me, I don't think the pain will ever go away, I don't think it's meant to. We learn to cope and live our lives in spite of the pain. Dolores and her legacy of music will continue to be a major part of my life.