A Memory Triggered by Boulevard of Broken Dreams

I went to a Catholic K-8. In the seventh and eighth grade every student was responsible for leading the class in prayer about once every 3 months. This usually consisted of a handful of bible passages, various pieces of 2010’s era clip art with water marks, pictures of hands protruding from darkness holding the earth, or soil with a sprout in it, or other vaguely spiritual images you might expect 7/8th graders to pull up on the internet. Another aspect of this prayer was that every student would select a song that went along with the theme of their prayer. I wish I could travel back in time because I bet now I would think it was hilarious to watch a bunch of 12/13 year olds leading prayer and then playing Nickelback or other christian rock groups as a means of trying to get everyone to engage their spirituality.

One particular memory I have is of when a classmate played Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day. The scandalous part was when the singer sang “Read between the lines Of what's fucked up and everything's alright” and they said “fucked up” without censorship. Which was of course a big no-no in Catholic middle school. Fortunately for the student presenting everyone including the teacher just pretended it didn’t happen because the f-bomb was only dropped one time.

When it came my turn to host prayer, I was going through a huge Beatles phase. Pretty much the only songs I had besides Mr. Roboto by Styx, or Crazy Frog, or the Rising Tied album by Fort Minor was the entirety of The Beatles discography that my mom paid $150 to digitally download to my Microsoft Zune™ (R.I.P.) for my 12th birthday. Seeing as I was a tween of culture, I decided to play “In My Life” by The Beatles. It’s a great song in which The Beatles reminisce over various places and people they have met, and that despite the constant change that life inevitably brings, they sing that despite all the change their love for “you” is unwavering and growing.

Much to my surprise, around three-quarters of the way through the YouTube video (which would usually play ads before song and hilariously ruin the mood), our teacher started crying. At first I became really tense because I was just so unsure of what was making our teacher cry. Everyone in the classroom was very respectful but also very confused. After our teacher gathered herself, she told the class that she was crying and upset because it turned out that that day was the anniversary of a miscarriage she had of her third pregnancy. As it turned out she already had a name picked out and knew the gender of the child. In addition to the terrible trauma inflicted upon her by this disaster, I believe she additionally harbored extra guilt due to her Catholic beliefs around the sanctity of fetal life. Nonetheless, she told us that had it not been for this miscarriage, she wouldn’t have had her youngest son, whom she loved very much and was thankful for.

Being the stupid middle schooler I was, all I could think was, “So my prayer was so good it made you cry… do I get extra credit?”.

Looking back at the lyrics, I can completely understand how the following lyrics might make someone upset who is memorializing the death of a child:

All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all

As I listened to Green Day recently, this memory just popped back into my mind, and I thought I’d write about it because it’s one of those memories that seems to pop up from time to time.

Looking back, I feel terrible for our teacher, but I think everyone was very respectful and understood the gravity of the situation. All I can really think is thank God that so far I have yet to experience such loss in my life. But I know it will come inevitably. Stories like this are always a powerful reminder to never take for granted the life and people you currently have with you, and to do everything you can to tell your friends and family that you love them and to talk to them and to be with them.

This post is Day 7 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at 100daystooffload.com

Zach Bellay published on

4 min, 767 words