When my mom was dying, there was a short time when she no longer could talk but could hear. This was only a few days before she died, when she was in the Hospice, which she was for the last couple of weeks of her life.
Mom had always loved her music. I have cherished childhood memories of kicking around the house on Sundays when mom would be doing house work and playing her music loudly on the stereo. Probably those Sundays, when she wasn’t working and was just relaxing at home and listening to music, shaped my love of music.
Anyway, I made a CD of some of her favorite tunes and took it in with me to visit her. The Hospice had some boom boxes. So mom and I sat together, she no longer able to talk. But she could hear, and I played her a CD of her favorite tunes and we sat together just listening.
Her eyes had been bad for a long time. Which had prevented her for years from using the stereo I bought her. She rarely listened to her music, in her last years. It was too hard for her to use the machinery. But I know she loved her music. And I love it also. The Sound of Music. Westside Story. Harry Belafonte. Enya. Neil Diamond. Leonard Cohen. Moon River by Henry Mancini was mom and dad’s song. That was their love song.
I will remember that visit to mom forever, and playing her that music. She was visibly relieved to hear her music. And, to me, to hear it with her reminded me so much of all those Sundays as a kid with my mother.
I’m listening to that music tonight. I’m putting the house up for sale. The house my parents bought in 1971. Mom passed away in 2008 and dad in 2000. I’ve been living here alone since mom died. Tonight I’ve been making decisions as to what to throw away and what to keep. Again. Going through death certificates, old financial records, letters, other things, and photos. Tonight, I came across a couple of photos of mom when she was a kid. Which I added to the collection of photos I put together of mom shortly after she died.
I am so ambivalent about selling this house. But, while I am ambivalent, I am also finally determined to get on with my own life. I took care of mom for eight years before she passed away, and it’s been two years since she died. That’s a long time. Time to move on.
But I wanted to tell you about the experience of listening to that music with mom in her last days. It was a real pleasure for her. In a situation where she was not able to have pleasures apart from visits. And a reconnection with her to a time we both loved. Music is beautiful, magical.