Metallica – The Outlaw Torn: A story of Therese Paderta

Metallica released this song on their Load album in 1996. Usually I almost always focus on the music in the songs and how the melody / rhythm of the vocals matches up. I may even know the words to the songs but not fully understand them if I really do not pay attention to them. Not long after the album came out, I had read the story behind the lyrics. James Hetfield said it is about “losing someone to death and longing to find a replacement that never comes.”

Therese Mary Paderta left this world very early in the morning on December 15, 1992. I remember laying on the couch, watching men carrying her body out. Not long after family members and friends were woken in the middle of the night by either by Laura or Dad. Soon after those people were there for us, keeping us company in that old house on Cullom Avenue. Later that day it rained. I remember going with Laura and Dad to the funeral home and cemetery to plan things out and to pick her grave. After the two-night wake, funeral, and proceeding luncheon, life went on as a motherless child; I was just 15 years old.

When you lose someone, you have many directions in which you can take your life. Within months of her passing I had discovered The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. I had made many new choices in my life in the years thereafter; in the past I would usually follow the crowd instead of creating my own identity. I chose to be strong. One example of this strength is how people asked how I kept strong after her passing. I used to explain things in a more complicated way. Recently I came across a more concise version: “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” People out there have tougher lives than I have.

After awhile you can only be so strong. Life is about balances. You can only have so much of one thing until the yin yang balances it all out. No matter how how hard we try to push our lives in one direction, there is something always pulling us back to bring in some sort of balance. Butt-Head said something along the lines that if nothing sucked, then nothing would be cool. We do need to come crashing down from time to time to learn to appreciate the good in our life.

. . . losing someone to death and longing to find a replacement that never comes.

I feel like I have been waiting around, searching for that comfort that Mom gave me. Sometimes I look for it in others. Sometimes I really feel like I am waiting for her to come back, living in denial. Most of the time I life my life without dwelling on this too much. Other times I become obsessive on the subject.

Sometimes I feel like I am living my life in fear. If the person who meant the most to me left me, there is no guarantee that anyone else in my life will ever stay for me long-term. One of two things happens. Sometimes people run away when I need them most. If that does not happen, I manage to cause enough chaos in the relationship to drive them away from me, fulfilling my own prophecy.

Mom held me together. Mom held our family together. Mom held our family together to our extended family. It seems since she has been gone my whole life has come undone. I have been searching for either that person that will get me back together, or at least find the strength and wisdom from inside to do it myself. No matter how hard I work to improve my life, there is always something knocking me off my pedestal.

Of course, I cannot just hate the bad things in my life. Wikipedia defines yin yang as “complementary opposites, unseen (hidden, feminine) and seen (manifest, masculine), that interact within a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system.” Larry Winget says about change, “People never make changes when they are comfortable.” You have to have those crappy moments to realize you can make better choices when you are otherwise not doing so.

I had to fail out of school to realize that being a school teacher was not the best thing for me. The years thereafter sucked royally, but I would have never been blessed the way I am now if I kept on that same path. At this moment I will do everything I can to keep the job I have right now. The pay is great, each day comes packed with fun moments, and I have a very high sense of job satisfaction.

In my past there was a falling out with one friend in particular. Since then there is a better sense of respect and openness. Although things are not perfect, I have a greater sense appreciation for this person. Of course the falling out was not necessary for things to improve. However, changes were made due to that feeling of discomfort.

All too often it seems that I am going through these cycles of ups and downs. Why can’t I just learn the right way the first time around? It just makes more sense to stay close to a certain few people and maintain & enrich those relationships. Yes, it may close off opportunities of meeting and getting close to new, great people. However, having long-lasting relationships is more valuable to me than meeting and losing so many good people.

Why couldn’t Mom be there with me anymore? She would be 77 today; that’s not that old by today’s standards. 19 years, 3 months, 16 days is both a very long time and a short time; it has been that long since she left me. At the same time it it is hard to believe it has been so long. However, I barely have many memories of Mom.

One of my defense mechanisms is blocking my memories. Not only is it hard to remember memories of her during the 15 years, 10 months, 19 days that we both lived on this Earth, this mechanism is now being used in other relationships in my life. It is becoming harder and hard to remember things. I know I need to learn how to slow down my life; more will be posted about my recent progress later. What I have been doing is blocking out memories, both good and bad, of those between people with whom I have had hard times. The problem being is it is hard to remember things that those people say to me; many things they say to me are somewhere locked inside my mind.

Time was never on my side
So on I wait my whole lifetime

Every time I hear that line in The Outlaw Torn I beat myself up. I get so emotional every time I think about how I do almost everything last minute. Then I am running around trying to get that half-court shot in so I can I beat the buzzer. When the buzzer goes off before I can release the shot, it just brings up all the memories where procrastination has meant fewer chances for success in my past. It has even been causing me pain with things happening in my life right now.

Time is not on anyone’s side. However, you can be on time’s side. I need to force myself to create structure so I can accomplish all the important things and bring happiness to my life.

Best regards,

4 thoughts on “Metallica – The Outlaw Torn: A story of Therese Paderta

  1. It’s baby steps of faith, Jim. I still got my face stuck in the dirt. Gonna get up, soon. Here I get up again, er, maybe or not, here I am, stuck in the dirt. Git ‘er up, Duke! Ye, ha! She gave you loving guidance and her approval with love unconditionally and eternally. My mom died Jan. 24th, 2011 and would have also been 77 years old now.

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