The story behind Out Of My Depth  

Out Of My Depth was inspired by a lifelong love between my mother-in-law, Mary Ann, and her ex-husband, Bob. It was an unconventional love story that I had the privilege to witness a glimpse of near its end. Their companionship began at a college bar in London, Ontario, developed quickly into a romance, then marriage, and the birth of a son, Hamilton. The close kinship lasted long after their divorce until Bob passed away from cancer, Mary Ann at his bedside. 

We all know the traditional arc of love stories as depicted in countless movies. An unlikely meeting of two incompatible characters, followed by a whirlwind courtship, and an inevitable conflict that seems fated toward certain separation. Just as the couple is at the brink of splitting, the drama is resolved with a fairy tale ending—a long sprint down an airport terminal to chase down a boarding plane, for instance—and a passionate embrace.   

Mary Ann and Bob's relationship did not follow such conventions, nor would many in the real world, I presume. Bob was a wild one, which is why he was given the moniker of 'crazy Bob' by his loved ones. Perhaps the wild child in him was not well suited for domesticity, but the reasons behind the separation are their business, not mine. One thing I know for certain is that Bob shined a little brighter with Mary Ann in his company, until the very end. 

When I first met Bob, he was full of humour, eccentricities, and spontaneity, despite the advanced stage of his illness. A big fan of Warren Zevon, the excitable boy was still present behind his eyes, though he was weak and frail. At Bob's funeral, Mary Ann gave a beautiful eulogy which summarized their relationship, and Terry's Song, by Bruce Springsteen, was played to honour him. For those unfamiliar with the song, there's a repeated refrain in the lyrics of, "When they built you brother, they broke the mold." 

Out Of My Depth came out of what I witnessed before and after Bob's passing, and what I've been told of their relationship by my wife, Elyse, and the family I married into. Mary Ann took on the role of Bob's caregiver in hospice, while remaining a constant source of comfort to their son and Bob’s two stepdaughters, an inspiring testament of strength and generosity. 

There is a running motif throughout the song of moving through grief as if moving through water. The imagery represents the way in which we are all out of our depth while navigating mourning, the world around us opaque and unfamiliar. Years of memories come back to us unbidden and crash over a heart laden with grief. And yet, as the song explores, we move forward through the day-to-day matters of living to survive. 

Mary Ann always kept her head above water in the wake of Bob's passing, providing comfort to her three children as they mourned. Often, she spoke aloud to Bob, sending one-way messages of kindness to the great beyond which ended in a sigh and the words, “Oh Bobby,” two simple words spoken with such affection they seemed to encapsulate their relationship.   

Out Of My Depth, tells a story of love and devotion, but also of graduating into an unfamiliar world, one altered by loss. Death is a fact of life: unavoidable, universal, one we all must endure without knowing when or where the next wave will break.  

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