Jeffrey Kopet. // Courtesy of the Kopet family
More than 500,000 people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19 since the pandemic hit this country and the world just over a year ago. NPR is remembering some of those who lost their lives by listening to the music they loved and hearing their stories. We're calling our tribute Songs Of Remembrance.
My father was a relatively reserved man, but he would let certain songs get to him. One of those songs was "Brothers in Arms" by Dire Straits. We never talked about what it meant to him personally, but he was one of the kindest people I've ever known. I know he had immense respect for veterans, but I also know that the bigger themes in the song — the sense of finality, pain, sadness, and the fact that all of the "brothers" are in fact humans with dreams, hopes, and wishes — I know that was part of what he loved so much in the song. My mom said it was one of the songs where my dad would shed a single tear after hearing it — although he might deny it later on.
I grew up listening to Dire Straits with my mom and dad, so any time I hear any of their popular tracks, I get jolted back to the early '90s and my toddlerhood and early childhood. I think of running down the hallway to hug my dad after he got home from work, I think of times spent playing on the carpeted living room floor on weekends with my mom and dad, and I think of the smell of holiday goodies baking in the adjacent kitchen because my parents listened to their favorite albums constantly — no specific season required. Now, the song "Brothers in Arms" makes me think of my dad's years spent battling cancer. It makes me think of the way my dad defied the odds, worked hard to get better despite being incredibly ill, and the fact that he had an army of excellent healthcare providers, friends, and family members behind him. In the end, he was so extremely tired and COVID-19 took him from us, but he fought so hard in this "war." I miss him so much, and honestly — the song just encapsulates my sadness, my love, and my awe at his strength. —Jeri Kopet, daughter