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Death, from "Honey," a song sung by Bobby Goldsboro

Subthemes: Grief and Heartbreak, Afterlife, Religion

A tearful song, “Honey (I Miss You)” bares the deep loss of a man devastated by the death of honey. Although she went away more than two years before, he obsessively replays her time with him and grieves. The song elicits several subthemes of Death.

“Honey,” sung by Bobby Goldsboro

See the tree, how big it’s grown
But friend, it hasn’t been too long
It wasn’t big
I laughed at her, and she got mad The first day that she planted it
Was just a twig

[lyrics omitted]

She was always young at heart
Kinda dumb, and kinda smart
And I loved her so
And I surprised her with a puppy
Kept me up all Christmas eve
Two years ago

[lyrics omitted]

And honey, I miss you
And I’m bein' good
And I’d love to be with you
If only I could

[lyrics omitted]

I came home unexpectedly
And caught her cryin' needlessly
In the middle of the day
And it was in the early spring
When flowers bloom, and robins sing
She went away

[refrain omitted]

One day while I was not at home
While she was there, and all alone
The angels came
Now all I have are memories of honey
And I wake up nights
And call her name

Now my life’s an empty stage
Where honey lived, and honey played
And love grew up
And a small cloud passes overhead
And cries down on the flower bed
That honey loved

[final stanza omitted] Honey lyrics © Bibo Music Publishing, Inc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKAeeGnAYBo

Grief and Heartbreak: The sudden death of someone we dearly love throws us into grief. When honey went away it crushed the spirit of her husband. He has since passed through a few of the well-known stages of grief: the first being shock and denial, when we simply refuse to accept the first news flash that the President has been shot in Dealey Plaza and killed. Next, pain and guilt, where we regret what we might have done to prevent the tragedy. Many then move to anger directed at someone who should have done something to avert the death, followed possibly by depression, which therapists attribute to anger turned inward. He may have contemplated suicide. Eventually reconstruction and working through of the survivor’s life gradually takes place, and, finally, acceptance of the death and hope. Given the endless recounting of his loss, his house may be known to neighbors as the widower’s house.

Afterlife: People of faith believe that a reward follows our time on earth, if lived righteously. For Christians it is Heaven, for Muslims it is Paradise (Jannah ) and for Hindus the hope is Moksha. Similarly to Judaism, Islam believes that on the Day of Judgment, Allah will resurrect everyone, judge them and send them either to Paradise or Hell. The husband wishes he could join honey in the afterlife:

And I’d love to be with you
If only I could

Religion: The song alludes to religion because of the reference to Christmas eve and the angels came for honey. The churchlike choral background to Bobby Goldsboro’s singing also reminds us of beatific angels. We don’t hear of the singer praying for his wife’s return or questioning how a benevolent deity could have allowed her to die, but a short song can only do so much to invoke religious sentiment. For many people, their religion not only frames how they prepare for death but also gives them reassurance about life after death.

 

Listeners weep when they hear this moving lament. Devastated by the inexplicable and sudden loss of his beloved Honey, the singer relives his tender and endearing memories leading to that terrible spring day. He hasn’t passed through the steps of grief and he hasn’t found solace in religion or philosophy. His heart broken by her death, he remains stuck in his sadness.

To consider subthemes of Death that are not associated with this song or the other three creative works discussed in this set, please visit Additional Subthemes. See this for more about Themes from Art.

We invite you to read about other rock songs discussed on this blog, and their themes. Here they are:

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