Over a week ago, I had finished recording the song I wrote for my mother, the song that I realized wanted to be a part of the story I was writing for her, The River of Heaven. Ten days later I still had not been able to post it.
On the 26th I found myself still struggling against this hesitancy within me to share this song…even with my private support group of fellow artists. Under the pull of the full moon, I finally relented and posted the song, first to them, and then to others.
This is curious to me. How strange I should feel so…exposed. I mean I’ve written, recorded and videoed a song, Forgotten Child, about incest, using a few images from my own memory. I did not have anywhere near the difficulty or hesitancy I felt with Miyasan. Many of my songs have to do with the healing journey. I make it no secret the childhood abuse I experienced. So why…this song that simply tells the story through the eyes of a child waiting to be rescued from her balcony…why did it feel like I was baring the most secret parts of my soul to the world?
I have heard this story from my mother more times than I can count. It not only impacted the rest of her life, it affected everything and everyone she touched, including and especially her children.
I’ve heard this story, yes…many, many times, but this time it was different. Writing this song, singing this song the song transported me into her. I stood where she stood, saw what she saw, felt what she felt. Taking in the sunset she told me so often about, I was closer to her than I had ever been.
But it wasn’t her breaking heart or falling tears that caused my own heart to wince in pain. I’m beginning to see it was her faith, her trust. For this song isn’t a song of grief even as it is sad but of hope, a hope born of the faith and trust only a child can have.
And maybe that’s what makes it so painful, what made it so hard for me to put out there. Because it reminds me of what I had once had and then lost. Somewhere along the first initial crumbling of the walls of my idealism and the death of loved ones, I lost that beautiful faith and trust that only a child can have…and those who have preserved a special safe place in their hearts for it.
I had not been vigilant in making my special place safe from marauders.
And it hurts to sing my mother’s story when I know its end. But I wonder…do I really?
Is the sad ending really my mother’s story? Isn’t it that hope? That fierce love that never stopped believing? When I write her song, is this not what has survived? Not the the sorrow of her life but her strength?
She used to always say, “Forget me not.” She signed almost every piece of artwork she created with “Forget Me Not”.
Well, I haven’t. And even more, it’s not just that I haven’t forgotten, but what I have remembered. Maybe that’s really her ending. Maybe the book of your life doesn’t close when you reach the last chapter. Maybe the pen is merely passed to another author.
And so the story of her life isn’t one of betrayal and heartache. It’s a story of love and hope that despite all obstacles, through a mind that wandered in its own labyrinth of pain, emerging and then going back again, the love and hope that really was my mother survives.
And her story is still being written…though me, by me. It continues in my memories of her, it lives in my life. When I step up to a microphone, when I sit in silence, when I close my eyes and let words and melody come forth, I live her.
I am not her, but we are not two.
It’s a Zen thing.
It’s a mother/daughter thing.
I have more writing to do. And while I’m writing her story, I can write my own.