Lately, I’ve been an emotional wreck. A cry-baby, melting into tears at the smallest provocation, and sometimes for no provocation at all. Today, like a dummy, I finally put the pieces together and realized what might be contributing to this excess of sensibility.
My birthday and my mother’s death are forevermore linked in my mind, because on my 28th birthday, I couldn’t be bothered to find time to see my mother – I barely managed to squeeze in a phone call. She died unexpectedly 11 days later, on the day we were supposed to FINALLY see each other. I’m hoping that I’ll one day forgive myself for that. So yeah, the weeks leading up to my bday are also a period where I brace myself for the recurring wave of grief, of which my birthday is merely a foreshadow. It gets stronger the days following my bday, up until the anniversary of her death. Today.
I don’t have much to add to what I’ve already written about her:
- An ode to Dynamo: what happened in the immediate aftermath when I got the call.
- Putting the ‘happy’ back into happy birthday: where I give myself permission to enjoy my bday
- Clair de lune: a walk down memory lane, triggered by beautiful music. Written one year ago, today.
- A letter to my mama: just telling her what’s up.
So today, I share with you a chant that is sung in the Orthodox Russian Christian funeral rites, and memorial services. It is called “Vechnaya Pamyat” which translates to “Memory Eternal”. It is sung after the Deacon exclaims: “In a blessed falling asleep, grant, O Lord, eternal rest unto Thy departed servant and make his/her memory to be eternal!”
Without wanting to get into a discussion of religion, God, and afterlife, I find the notion comforting that even though my memories of her might fade and change, because I am a human with a decaying brain, her memory will live on independently of my inability to honor her properly.
It kinda blows my mind that the world continues to spin, when her absence is so incomprehensible.
The best mama anyone one could wish for.
P.S. Because I am stuck at work, and won’t have a chance to visit her grave today, I am listening to this recording of Verdi’s Requiem. I highly recommend it, I think it is the best one I’ve ever heard. Not only is it topical, but it specifically reminds me of my mother. She had a VHS recording of it, and would play it occasionally. I have memories of us playing Barbie and Legos to it. Of me as a pre-schooler, in rapt amazement watching the TV screen (and let’s all agree, watching this kind of concert is not something that typically keeps little children’s attention), while she cooked in the kitchen. Of the patio doors to the family room being open, and this music blaring through the neighborhood – sometimes our neighbours would ask my mother for the details of the recordings she listened to, because they liked what they heard so much. She explained to me, aged 4-5, what a requiem was, the circumstances that warranted it to be played. At a young age, through the help of music, I therefore understood the concept of death. This piece always seemed to me perfect, in the scope and variety of emotions, sounds, moods, and melodies. Always beautiful, always complex. Just like death.