Song #2 of the 2020101 project: “Through the Window”

Hello from day 11 of 2020101:
an interactive album project of 11 original songs,
about our collective experiences of the year 2020,
released 1 song at a time, every 10 days, for 101 days,
… which means that Song #2 is out TODAY.

Here it is. It’s called “Through the Window.”

  • Click here to stream or download it, exclusively on Bandcamp.
  • Read below — or at — about the inspiration for the song that emerged from our community’s shared experiences of 2020.
  • Also: we want you to help us continue to co-create this living project with us, by sharing your stories that relate to the theme of “Through the Window.” Find out how to get involved at

to honor & remember

It would be impossible to create a picture of our collective human experience of the year 2020 without acknowledging the enormous loss of life at the center of it.

The week in which we’re releasing this song — the last week of February, 2021 — the United States crossed a somber threshold — over 500,000 known deaths from covid-19.

I remember trying to imagine, at the beginning of the pandemic, the number of lives we were in danger of losing if the virus was allowed to spread uncontrollably. I recall feeling it like a sucker punch to the gut when I had the realization, “We could lose a half a million people.” And here we are.

That is a devastating number.
500,000 human people …
… who were living and loving and being loved just a year ago
… now just … gone.

But I have to admit … this week’s news didn’t hit me like the sucker punch I’d imagined it to be a little less than a year ago. I wondered why; and I believe that — like a lot of folks — in being bombarded with bad news after bad news, and by steeling myself against the enormity of the trauma and stress of this time, I have become somewhat inured to the full weight of the devastating reality of death.

It’s not that I don’t feel it. It’s just that I think I’ve instinctively learned to buffer myself from the sharpest edges and the biggest blows, as a survival mechanism. And I recognize that the ability to offer myself that buffer is a privilege … because I — by some stroke of luck — did not lose anyone very close to me last year.

But of course …
that’s not the case for many, many
— way too many — people.

In our story collecting, we heard from dozens of people who did lose close loved ones in 2020 —

sisters … fathers … partners …
children … cousins … best friends.

And these folks didn’t, and don’t, have the privilege of allowing the devastation of death to recede into the background of an otherwise hard year.

For them …
the unimaginable chaos of the world around them
is what receded into the background,
as their most consequential experience in 2020
came blazing to the front:

the opening up of a permanent empty space,
where a person they love used to be.

And it wasn’t just covid-19 deaths. People shared about the illness and loss of loved ones from other causes in 2020 — the realities of which were made more difficult and more painful because they happened in the context of a pandemic-altered world:

not being able to comfort their loved ones
as they received care in a healthcare facility

unsatisfying attempts at being present with them
on video calls, or through ground floor windows

accepting that it would be
a healthcare provider, not a family member or friend,
by their side as they took their last breaths

being unable to bury them,
or to have a service to honor their memory,
or to participate in any of the traditional rituals
that help us grieve.

So we offer “Through the Window” —

to honor the personal and intimate details of loss
that people experienced in 2020,

to acknowledge the perpetual nature
and ongoing process of grief,

and … to remember.

If you have a story that you want to share about losing or grieving a loved one in 2020, please email it to Jamie at Throughout this 101-day-long project, we are creating a living, interactive document of people’s experience in 2020. Those stories, and all the songs, will live on at