Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Words and Music and Memory

It's been many years since I lived with a piano. I have not had daily access to one since I moved away from home. So it's wonderful and strange to once again share my space with one of these imposing pieces of musical furniture.

The piano that now sits in my front hallway beckoned me yesterday when I came upon some old Gilbert and Sullivan sheet music. I sat to play, but it wasn't the plaintive strains of Tit Willow that sent me into reverie, it was what fell out of the book of sheet music.

Hidden away between the pages were some photographs of my mother and father, taken perhaps a year or so before my mother became ill and only a couple of years before their deaths. I felt startled, but I cannot say why. They are familiar faces of loved ones, faces one has known for a lifetime yet strangely missing for some time from my view. I thought briefly about what to do with them, then slid them back into the book of music and continued playing.

This morning, the images of the photos came back into my mind and I wondered if I oughtn't to frame a picture to put atop the piano. But something stopped me, a fear of something I cannot name.

Perhaps it is only that there are not daily reminders that makes it possible to live in a world that is forever changed by their absences. I don't know why I should feel unnerved by photographs of my parents, it may be that they are so alive and themselves in these pictures, and I am overwhelmed.

On Christmas Eve, it will have been 6 years since my mother succumbed to the cancer that took her life. I wonder how long it will be before I can look at a photo and not feel the emptiness that her passing left in my world.

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