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Mother’s Music

By Sonny Sherry Brigger


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There are days when the sound of my mother comes through to me as if she were still here. Cuts through my pain, my joy, my musings - all that would separate us. It is not a voice as we know the human voice to be, but a voice nonetheless. It is something I recognize for what I wish it to be and I stand enrapt as she pours herself back into my life, her passion becoming mine.

As people are want to sometimes do, in even the most common of cases, I sought to assess the situation, give it my spin, as it were. Not the best plan perhaps for a person of my background and prone to such under-statement. However, in the spirit of involvement and not wanting to appear as lacking inspiration, I dove right in with due respect, watching for clues that in all likelihood weren’t there.

Stories of her nature, given as a gift from the past by those who may well have known her best, shed the warmest light on her values and the way she defined herself. Perhaps it is only now that I can begin to fully appreciate and, in part understand, the woman I saw as keeper of the home - provider of what a daughter needs - the person I called mother.

We were never far from knowing each other, our days as parent and child flowing as such days often do, without the benefit of comprehension or the weight of necessity. Those things we seemed not to miss, managing quite well on tiny gestures, the very whimsical strands of what held us together. Don’t we all know how the thinnest threads can bind tightly.

When I was small, with early memories of her place in my world, I did not wonder at what she was about. I did not question the direction of her life or what had come before me. Even then I was no student to the lessons she gave. It is the curse of youth to always move ahead with little regard to what is being left.

From the start, we were well beyond lullabies, having moved almost immediately upon acquaintance into the deeper tones of what we considered the essence of our relation. I wanted to be near her, striving for that pureness of sound which seemed to emanate from her soul, drawing others into the same web where I lived. After becoming accustomed to it, she really cared more than was intended though it had no impact on the overall package.

If you were to enter those doors, in the same fashion many of us did, you might as a matter of course, wonder at what it was you heard. You might think you had it figured out and that nothing was as you first expected. I, myself, had put the pieces together without help, without the faintest of encouragement and at the end, without any real cause. In retrospect, the hardest part was being OK with that.

At some point, I began to trust, going with what I perceived as a line of truth and yet, I think I really knew better. One could hold steady and let the fates lead or one could simply lock down and allow any creative juices which dared, to project an acceptable kind of answer. I never made a conscious decision to close my mind, for all the good it would have done.

Several times I grabbed hold, as tightly as anyone can in recognizing something has broken loose, to the minimum edge. It was easier than you might imagine, this grasping of what was seen as elusive. I couldn’t put a name to it or readily define the state of being. It was as if we were caught in some slippery maze with no foothold in sight and no will to stop going.

Why then, you ask, did we? When all is nearly lost and that feeling of self has dropped from view, what remains? What is ever worth the cost of search. This business of being able to distinguish that which is outside of us from that which has worked its magic toward sealing the rift, was not what you might think, or what you might once have thought. It is a separate issue entirely.

So, then, in moving forward, in searching to break away from all known methods, I falter only momentarily, simply a blip in time, nothing more. I would ask only the allowance to sort what is to be taken along, knowing always that what knows me, owns me.


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