Tomorrow is a year since my mum died. Days after she died, I asked one of the few close friends I know who had lost a parent, how she had coped. She sent me this:
“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” Kahlil Gibran
Over the last few months I have felt myself turning a corner, regular visitors have commented on it too, thank you. People say the toughest part of the grief journey is about getting through the firsts, and that often it starts to feel better as a year approaches. It is true, although I am feeling somewhat derailed by the enormity of tomorrow, and if I am honest there’s a slight sense of feeling cheated, that having made it to a year there’s still nothing waiting at the finish line.
But, for me the answer is, and always will be Gibran’s words. When I look back over mum’s little legacies I realise she also gave me the tools to cope. Amazing gifts which have helped me to delight in life, and to continue to delight in life without her. Relaxation exercises, positive ways to frame the day, stories, a love of nature, recipes, rituals, the names for flowers and birds, mind mapping. But there’s one legacy I really struggle with.
Mum loved music, and had the most amazing collection ranging from folk to rock, from world to classical, from Nirvana to Bach. I won’t forget her dancing round the kitchen G and T in hand, a new musical discovery chasing away the working week on a Friday night. I won’t forget my brother and I in the hospital last year playing her some of her favourite tracks on her ipod.
In the days after she died my brother and Dad took out her CDs and played them repeatedly. But I still today find it pretty impossible to listen to many things without bawling. Last weekend when someone played a CD she owned, I tuned out, talked loudly through it and breathed a sigh of relief when it finished and something innocuous like Bruno Mars came on the radio. I spent half an hour in the toilets at a wedding last year because something else set me off.
Anyway, it’s time to face up to that legacy because it’s been quiet for too long and I’m sick of only listening to rubbish pop. Once upon a time, when mum was young, and at a folk festival with my Dad, the Scottish folk musician and extraordinary guitarist Bert Jansch played this song Angie, and dedicated it to her. Sadly, in looking him up for this post, I found he died last year too. All the more reason to share an amazing piece of music.
On Saturday we will go to mum’s tree, high in the hills and I will delight in what to me is the most beautiful spot in the world.
Little legacy is a remembrance project , a positive and creative space, to celebrate small things handed down by inspiring people. Feel free to link up a little legacy you’ve been thinking about this week, or to leave one in the comments. Here’s the code and here’s more on Little Legacy