Sometimes, right when they happen, you just know… this is a moment I’ll always remember…
We’d been driving for hours that day, and Mom… in the beginning stages of an illness that was robbing bits of her cognitive abilities, stealing her elegant vocabulary…had been sleeping deeply in the front passenger seat for the last many miles. Every time I saw her, it saddened me to see a little more slipping away. Now, on our way to celebrate Dad’s and Mom’s 50th Anniversary in concert at a long-beloved entertainer’s theater, I’d slipped in a CD of his music for the road.
Dad pulled into a gas station, my sister got out to stretch her legs, and I sat in back, breathing in the beauty of an especially tender song… Softly, I Will Leave You… Tears welled as his oh so poignant rendition flowed over me.
Just then, Mom roused as if someone had called her, bid her to wake instantaneously without momentary confusion, to hear singing like the most beauteous of heartstring violins…
“OHHHHH….. Ohhhhh,” she breathed with childlike awe of one in a majestic cathedral, seeing beauty for the very first time, searching for words. And turning to me with shimmer in eyes, meltingly finished… “that VOICE!”
My own eyes swimming then, I leaned forward, took her hand.
“I know, Mom,” I choked softly, “isn’t it beautiful?”
She looked heavenward, rapture written in her own voice, almost palpable on the very air. Soaking in with heart and soul to the last fading note.
That was to be the last time we could take her to actually hear that music in live theater, for eventually she could not stop herself from lustily singing out from her seat with the entertainer on stage. But I remember her delight sitting there that celebratory night, holding my dad’s hand, laughing at the fun jokes, sighing at the oh so lovely music… the night he even sang one of her favorites from Madame Butterfly in tandem with a woman singer of great voice…
I’m ever amazed at how music can reach minds that can no longer receive much else… and remember with joy too how into the coming years of battling this illness, it was always the lilt of a song, the start of a glorious musical on TV or a DVD of an old favorite star that could make her sit up and exclaim… and even sing every word along…. cherished memories of her lifetime love of music never diminished. And for one fleeting moment, I could see it all there on her face…she was experiencing again her days in orchestra strings, her childhood voraciously spent at every movie musical, how she always made us stop and listen to every gorgeous or lilting song…
Even now, writing this… I can hear her voice that day in the car… and my eyes shimmer here, again.
© Pam Depoyan
With: Multitudes on Monday counting blessings with this blogging community, thankful for grace-full days of colors and fresh bread baking and soup simmering and assurance He is holding us all.