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Lauren Alaina Recalls the Trauma of Losing Her Grandmother

Lauren Alaina
Mike Coppola, Getty Images

Lauren Alaina may have not written the richly emotional song ‘The Locket’ on her debut album, ‘Wildflower,’ but she is deeply connected to it on many levels — and the teen put all of her heart into it when she recorded it.

The song traces the genesis and humble beginnings of an old-fashioned romance — the kind that Twitter and Facebook have deemed obsolete — which began on the front porch and continued through WWII and beyond. That is, until Alzheimer’s reared its head. It’s sweet, simple, pure and very reminiscent of a very specific big screen tearjerker. It also reminds the singer of her relationship to her grandmother.

“That song’s like ‘The Notebook,’” Alaina told USA Today.”The first time I heard it, I bawled. When I was recording it in the studio, I had to take breaks because it was getting to me.”

Warning: You might need tissues to read the rest of this story, which is about why Alaina was so affected by the song.

Turns out Alaina’s grandmother on her mom’s side died when she was in fifth grade, an event she calls “the most traumatic thing that ever happened to me.” She was jarred from a peaceful sleep to find out her grandmother was gone. She heard her grandfather’s message on the answering machine.

“I heard him on the voicemail, and I heard her not being able to breathe, like she was suffocating,” Lauren recalled. “I could hear her gasping in the background, and Papaw was crying. Then I got up, but I didn’t get to it in time. I ran downstairs, crying, ‘Mama, something’s wrong with my nana.’ I remember getting there and running in the house before my parents.”

Once onsite, Alaina’s mother attempted CPR, but it didn’t work. “My dad made us leave, but me and my brother hid,” sheremembered about that night. “We were, like, in the closet.” Clearly, the event has emotional resonance with Alaina, and she distilled those memories into her performance of the song.

Alaina also revealed that she was a tomboy — a contrast to her grandmother, who was incredibly feminine. Her grandmother’s influenced rubbed off on Alaina posthumously. “That’s why I’m a girly girl now,” she said.

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