Swing low…

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.


7 thoughts on “Swing low…

  1. I wrote to you, Laurel, just a few moments ago, saying how I MISS Tessa – then I read your blog. Missing is such a simple, deep, real feeling. interesting that you cannot read a newspaper. I couldn’t, but do again now, as Tess and I always did together, at the breakfast table. What i cannot do is play music. Its ok of someone puts something on – I just have no desire to do so myself.

    1. Ah, it is interesting how differently we react and interact. I can understand why your impulse towards music may wane for quite some time, though I am sure it will return eventually, as will my ability to interact with the world!

  2. Beautiful Laurel. Your words “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”….wow. I want to bottle this and when I forget. When I get sucked into hold habits. I take this delicate and strong bottle and smell the scent. And you know what smell comes to me when I visualize this. Rose. For me mother the divine feminine is Rose.
    I enjoy Sci-fi. One series I have been re-watching is Babylon 5. Last night I watched an episode where the hero dies and is given life from the Original First One. An ancient being who is ancient. He speaks of the gift the younger races have because through having short brief lives. We have the gift of experiencing love as eternal. Also time and time again characters in the series speak of the Universe giving birth to life so to learn and experience…become aware.
    So for you to speak of connection. To being present. Of being calmer and lighter. For me I hear you saying valuing life. Is such a gift. Very moving.
    So when a loved one dies it is an opportunity to connecting with this precious gift. Of life and love. Of as you say being fully present. Not listening to noise ~ whether that be papers or negative chatter.

    1. Thank you – for reading, opening your heart, hearing, and responding. My mother drew me into some Sci-Fi reading (as did my Gender Studies degree), and it fascinates me how well we can get perspective on our world by looking through a completely different lens.

  3. i know how you’re feeling. missing your mother. some days it is stronger than others. it is just so hard to wrap your head around not having her there. i’ve been missing mine like crazy recently. it is so hard and strange to think of her no longer out there, no longer able to do another thing. seems odd in some way.

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