I write about country music. Mostly.

Sturgill’s New Video Ignites a Haunting NICU Dream

When our daughter was in a neonatal intensive care unit many years ago, there were days  I wished I was dreaming. I longed to wake up once again pregnant, nesting and reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting versus living in a giant hospital worrying about our baby who born 3.5 months early.

But today, after watching Sturgill Simpson’s new video for Breakers Roar from his album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, available on iTunes, I find myself remembering a recurring, vivid dream that haunted me then and still does today.

In my dream, our tiny baby — she weighed only one pound, three ounces at birth  – somehow slipped out of her warmer bed in the NICU where even the slightest twitch or change in her respiratory rate triggered a loud alarm, summoning one of her excellent nurses. The chance of her falling was almost nil but still my dream persisted.


My husband Dan slid his wedding ring on our daughter’s arm when she was about eight weeks old.

It was a frightening and surreal vision of our tiny baby slowing floating, like a billowing tissue paper you drop, to the hospital unit’s cold, hard linoleum floor. Luckily, I was there to catch her every time, just inches from the floor. Then I always woke up.

I think my dream was subconsciously reinforcing my growing realization that this tiny person’s safety and well-being had been put in our hands.

The video for Breakers Roar has been seen by nearly 155k people on YouTube since its official posting May 4, 2016. It’s dramatic and cinematic. Directed by Matt Mahurin, the video was shot in sepia-toned hues, with powerful images of the sea. The central character is a young surfer separated from his board. He is adrift and floating down into the sea with a blank hole in his heart. Those scenes, and especially a brief shot of an up-ended baby carriage, were what reminded of my early worries about keeping our daughter protected from life’s dangers.

Simpson is a recent first time parent himself. According to his website, Breakers Roar is a lullabye to his young son. Its lyrics direct his son to live with an open heart and free of illusions that dim your spirit. Yet, according to the website, Simpson believes, “the world’s getting really scary—scarier than it’s been in a long time.”

I imagine that when Simpson wrote this poignant song, his desire to protect his child weighed on his mind. It is a daunting sentiment.



The link connects to the official video of Breakers Roar posted on YouTube by SturgillSimpsonMusic on May 4, 2016.  I claim no rights to this material.

Learn more about Karen Bernick here. If you like this post, please consider following me here, liking my Facebook page Karen Loves Country or following me at Twitter. Thanks for reading!

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