Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day

Well, I've been feeling sad for the last couple hours - even crying at one point. I realize that for perhaps the first time this year I am listening to a Billy Joel cd and I realize, also, that it is mother's day. This is my second mother's day without a mother. But I can still remember her - and maybe that's what I need to do now right now.

I don't really believe in coincidences. I didn't know it was mother's day (I'm not sure the French really celebrate it) but yet I put Billy Joel on - Billy Joel was my mother's favorite. I'm listening to Billy Joel's last, or one of his last, cds - the River of Dreams CD. I always liked it, but my mother always liked it much more. Now, as I get older I realize why.

In this CD he talks about losing faith, about depression, religion, soul, death, life, not knowing about life. And each song reminds me so dearly and clearly of my mother.

I'm so glad that I had my mother for the nineteen years I had her. I would rather have had her for those nineteen years than someone else for longer. But it still makes me sad that my boyfriend is going to buy a necklace for his mother (last minute of course :) ) and I have no one to buy a necklace for, or talk to. And, as I wrote in an earlier post today, F and I have been fighting a lot - yet, I feel like I have no one to talk to because everyone has such different values than I do - they don't approve of him as it is; they can't see past the arrogant, and yet rather unproven, macho exterior which I must admit is there. But anyway, my mother would know. The saddest part of my mother dying is she will never meet F and she will never know the children that I want to have with him. That is the saddest part.

And I miss her wisdom, I miss her faith, I miss her understanding, I miss her love, I miss her encouragement, I miss her validation. I miss my mother tremendously. Until I met F I felt afloat at sea, awash in the currents, with only dying people trying to hang on to me for their life, floating around. No one really held me up for two years - and they were the hardest years of my life. But anyway, it wasn't so terrible, people see much worse, and people care about me very much who I shouldn't discount - but they did not know what my mother knew.

And without those two years I would have no way to understand the fear and the loneliness my mother must've felt in her last years. She was dying of cancer after a 14 year valiant and brilliant fight - and only took her final breath when she and I let her go. She left when she was ready - not entirely ready - but when she had accepted it. But, regardless, she was an intelligent, sensitive, and accomplished woman. I know, though, that especially after her mother died when I was around eight (something like ten years before her death), and then even more so when her father died a few years ago, she felt very very alone. I probably understood her better than most people in this world. She did not receive validation from the people closest to her who she needed it from - she got a lot of anger from them because they did not understand her. Sure, some of that might have been her fault, but I was there - she tried, and she cried. And she loved anyway.

My mother related a lot to Billy Joel. I do now as well. We had a beachhouse in southern jersey and Billy Joel sings a song about Avalon and closing up for the season. I can remember so many seasons with my mother closing up the beach house. I remember driving in her minivan being a captive audience to Billy Joel playing over and over and over - and singing to him - and relating myself - and in my teenage years rebelling against the uncoolness of listening to him ALL the time when I was with my mother. But now I understand - he gets it. What it is I don't know, but he gets it.

Now I'm listening to The Great Wall of China - Billy Joel's manager I believe, or someone who worked with him and who he respected, betrayed him and took most of his money. His response is this song. It's great. You can tell that he is more jaded than in his earlier albums, but he is striving to work it out, still to have faith "You only beat me if you get me to hate." "We could've been standing on the Great Wall of China if you'd only had a little more faith in me." My mother felt betrayed by her job where the chairperson was trying to get her fired from her tenured position while she was very sick because, I think, he was jealous of her. She was very successful and yet very kind. She understood that feeling - you could've worked with me, had faith in me, but instead you just took.

A Minor Variation - dealing with depression "I just define it as a minor variation" he says - my mother didn't really like this song - she like'd to be more optimistic and was not really depressed - but, she expected to work in cycles. The motivation would hit her - she'd work like crazy and then it would leave and she'd not do much of anything. "Don't even hurt it's all a part of the pattern."

But I relate - I've had some very tough minor variations, "But I'm ready for the next time it hits me again, because I've gotten tough it doesn't phase me."

It's just
"Sometimes I gotta give right into the mood, despite how i try it's a sure shot i'm going to lose."

Shades of Grey - she loved this song - i think she was really confused more and more as she got older. i actually feel like i have always lived with the shades of grey. i think there's also a generational aspect of this song. at one point we were sure - world war II for example - that we were on the side of right and God. We haven't known that since Vietnam and now we're all stuck a little in shades of grey grasping desperately at our own individual blacks and whites or trying to reinvent the black and white in a more socially acceptable form for our new era.

"Some things were perfectly clear seen with the vision of youth
no doubts and nothing to fear i claimed the corner on truth
these days it's harder to say i know what i'm fighting for
i'm not that sure anymore"

Lullaby for Alexa (I think that's the name) - I think my mother liked this because for most of my life (since I was five) she was very aware of her own mortality due to the cancer. He's singing this song to his daughter, I believe, because he and her mother were divorcing. He wanted her to know he would always be there, even though he must leave now, even though he will die someday, even though she must sleep that night - and that he is there even if just in that she sings this lullaby to her child one day to put her child to sleep. I'm sure my mother felt all these ways for me. I miss her. Oh, mother, are you still somewhere?

River of Dreams - she loved this one too, related to it a lot - my mother was always searching and walking down to the river of dreams in the middle of the night...

in the middle of the night
i go walking in my sleep
from the mountains of faith (valley of fear) (jungle of doubt)
to the river so deep
i must be looking for something (searching for something)
but the river is wide (something taken out of my soul) (something so undefined)
and it's too hard to cross (something I'd never lose) (it can only be seen)
(Something somebody stole) (by the eyes of the blind)

my mother was searching - for faith, truth, for something to carry us past and through doubt and fear - for our dreams - i'm searching too...

2000 years - she loved this song too - we've come so far and yet not gotten anywhere - and yet, we hope we have gotten somewhere anyway

anyway, i have to go to sleep and get up for work tomorrow. but i love you mom, and i miss you. and you were a wonderful mother - i am very lucky to have had you.

Much love


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