I picked up a newspaper on my way into the tube station this evening. It is the first time I have looked at one since my mom died, and I discarded it again within minutes. Greek financial crisis threatening the Euro? 2000 police posts in London cut and burglaries on the rise when I have just cancelled my home insurance because I can’t afford it? Who cares?! My mom is dead, and I know the rest of the world doesn’t care, but I don’t care about them and their petty little worries either. I know that is not an entirely rational response to the evening newspaper, but I also know that it is okay to allow myself to feel somewhat irrational at times.
Why the hell is it so difficult to just allow ourselves (and others) to just feel and offload and BE – we waste so much of our lives fitting in, wondering what others think of us, and how we’re judged. I have always believed that the only opinions that really count are my own and those of people I admire, yet often found my head cluttered with the meaningless buzz of perceived opinions of people I don’t know or respect. I find myself in awe once again at how my mother’s death has changed me, and wondering how many of the changes will be permanent, how many intermittent, and which will be short-lived. I feel so free – it is as if death has driven me to re-evaluate life in ways I have often thought I should be able to. I feel lighter and calmer, which doesn’t change or detract from how sad and mournful I feel, but balances it out somehow.
As my train journey home draws to a close, Tracy Chapman’s ‘Sing for You’ comes on my iPod and brings nostalgia into today’s gamut of emotions. It is raining again, and I suddenly feel that London’s sombre summer this year has been appropriate. Ah hell I just MISS her! I am busy living, loving, working, growing, grieving, writing, listening; forging new friendships as old friends stay silent and thus become redundant (for now at least), and appreciating more than ever those who speak. I breathe and laugh and eat and dream, but through it all I miss knowing she is in the world, working, eating, loving, and growing herself.
Now Priscilla Ahn’s ‘Dream’ has me finally, finally, and for the first time during this miserable day, shedding a few tears. She did live life full and well, but she was full of plans and dreams and far from ready to leave. I am walking in the rain, picturing my mom as a little, freckled girl with pigtails. She taught me a swinging song she used to sing as a girl, and my Tristan loves me to sing to him when he is on the swings at the park.
‘Swinging, swinging, up in the summer sky
Swinging, swinging, up in the sky
Oh like a bird so high
Up in the summer sky
Swinging, swinging, up in the sky.’
It is short but hypnotic, and I am swamped in memories of all the places I have sung it to myself, round and round like a mantra – in hummocks, on swings, on swing seats, all over the world. In small ways like this she has always, and will always, travel with me.