You ever been driving down the road and had a song come on that just ripped your heart from your chest, threw it out the car window, then put the car into reverse to run over said heart? That was me last night.
This week marked the 15th anniversary of the passing of my mother. Over the years anniversary shifted from feeling like cold rain and snow to more of a mild haze in the air.
Last night as I was rushing out to take The Child to a party, I had the urge to grab an old Irish CD out of the guest bedroom box. That box contains what you might call the “Low Rotation CDs”. Those are the CDs that get played maybe once every 20 years. Discs that I don’t want to throw out, but wouldn’t notice they were gone. The box contains many of my Mom’s CDs, including her Irish music.
My mother was from Ireland. She loved being Irish. It was a lead talking point with any stranger she wanted to start a conversation with. If the USA is a melting pot, my mother was that one little Irish clump that no matter how high the heat and how fast the mixer, would never dissolve.
My mother had this propensity to buy Irish music CDs. She had about a dozen of these CDs you normally see in the discount racks for $2. They feature no name groups singing old standards like, When Irish Eyes are Smiling, I’ll take you home again Kathleen, Galway Bay, Danny Boy, My Wild Irish Rose, and Whiskey in the Jar. Renditions on these cheap CDs typically suck to high heaven, lack heart and depth and feeling.
So I fed this random CD to the player in the car and proceeded to take The Child to her party. By the time we gone about a mile, I had listened to the start of the first few seconds of the first 9 songs. The background music generally gives away what the song is and then the first words of the song dictate how absolutely crappy the version probably is. This is standard practice when I listen to these CDs, I should just throw them all out.
The 10th song of the CD started and it was clearly a song I had never heard before. The words went something like this:
A mother’s love’s a blessing
No matter where you roam
Keep her while she’s living
You’ll miss her when she’s gone
Love her as in childhood
Though feeble, old and grey
For you’ll never miss a mother’s love
Till she’s buried beneath the clay
And as the years go onwards
I’ll settle down in life
And choose a nice young colleen
And take her for my wife
And as the babes grow older
And climb around my knee
I’ll teach them the very same lesson
That my mother taught to me
Well, this tune made it somewhat more difficult to drive. Luckily, the Child was giving me directions to get to the party and all I had to do was avoid hitting things.
We got to the party and I told her how much I loved her. As usual, it went in one ear and out the other. But that’s what children do. Love expressed as words so often loses value when it’s repeated over and over. One can only pray that the repetition ultimately get the point across.
After The Child got out of the car, I put the tune on repeat and listened to the words a little more closely. I sat there in the car with my mother and thought about about the life she created for herself. I thought about the times we were close and the times we were distant. I thought about the way she used to bug the crap out of me. I felt thankful for the peace and acceptance of her that the Lord graced me with in the years before she died. At the end of it all, I just missed my mom.
The tune by the way was recorded by Bridie Gallaher and called “A Mother’s Love’s a Blessing”. Here is a video of her performing it
So as I sit here writing this piece, I realized that on this week, I downloaded a beautiful version of Galway Bay. I’ve had it on repeat this week at work. I didn’t make the connection with the song and the significance of the week. The music is a link. Maybe that’s why I don’t throw it away. Better to have crappy music in the house than no music at all. Then of course every once in a while, one finds a gem.
Maybe it’s time to call my dad.