Clay Writes a Song for His Mom, Breast Cancer Survivor

Clay (left) with his mom Noreen and siblings

One of the sweetest ways to give long-lasting life to a fleeting moment, thought, or feeling is to capture it before it dissipates in time.

Art is how we make these ephemeral moments live beyond our memories because art can encapsulate the essence of what we’re trying to convey, so we can relive it and share it with others all through just a photograph, poem, or even a song.

Music is Clay Taranto’s life. A self-described regular “local Boston boy,” Clay is in an alternative rock band called The Eversea, which started in 2010. They play in small venues, doing song covers and performing some of their own material, some of which Clay wrote based on his life experience. Just Listen is one of the songs he wrote, inspired by his mother’s battle with breast cancer.

When It All Began 

The Taranto Family (Image Courtesy of Clay Taranto)

In May of 2006, Clay’s mom Noreen was diagnosed with breast cancer, Stage 1, Grade 3.

“She told us during a family dinner,” Clay says. “We were playing a game called high-low, and each of us told the high point and low point of our day. That’s how she brought it up, and it changed dinner a bit.”

The initial shock of Noreen’s diagnosis struck the family, but as the reality settled in, Clay’s family united to rally around their mom.

“The best we could do was support her, and push her through it,” Clay says. “The whole family became more active. We didn’t want her to have any sort of negative mindset, so we wanted to keep positive, and keep doing what we were doing.”

Words With Weight

Treatment was difficult for Noreen, so to get through, she kept as active as possible. She’d go to the gym and do yoga, but she also kept a journal to get her thoughts out onto paper. Her prose was what gave Clay the idea to memorialize his mom’s journey in a song.

“She was writing a lot of stanzas to keep hope and power through everything,” Clay says of his mom. “I took what she wrote, and modified so it fitted song form, and tried to make music to fit the mood to make it sound inspirational.”

One of the most striking stanzas of the song, says:

“She found the hidden danger,

Looming deep within her breast,

Took action with the force to remove,

The uninvited guest.”

After a few rounds of rewrites, Just Listen was recorded and put onto iTunes as a way to fundraise; 100% of the proceeds The Eversea makes—which is about $0.70 of the $0.99 you pay for the song–go to an organization (of the band’s choice) that’s doing something to end breast cancer.

“We tried to give people the same feeling my mom had, to keep fighting,” Clay says. “We wanted people who were losing hope to keep going strong.”

Stronger Everyday

Since her diagnosis, Noreen fought the fight for a few years, and this past December was given the “all clear” by her physicians.

“She’s been doing very well, better than ever!” Clay says of his mom. “She’s in the process of writing a book, does speaking engagements, and participates in Komen walks and Relays for Life to raise money.”

The essence of Noreen’s journey is encapsulated in Just Listen, and the words sung are some of which men and women, family members and friends affected by breast cancer can relate to and find inspiration.

Check out Just Listen in the iTunes store.

Clay and his mom Noreen (Image courtesy of Clay Taranto)