It’s Just a Song.. I know.

by Lisa Donovan

There’s a Ray Charles song that I can remember my grandmother singing when I was a girl. Everytime I hear it, I can picture her singing it - it is so vivid I can remember the sound and pitch of her voice and the way she smelled and the way she would sing half in spanish….. 

When my mom came to visit, we were playing the Ray Charles CD and when the song came on - my mom teared up and said that it was her mom’s favorite song.  She was crying only because she missed her mom - she died when I was ten and it was a pretty traumatic event for all of us as she was a huge part of our lives. 

Today, it made me cry as I listened to it taking my son to school.  I didn’t cry because I miss her, which I do.  I stopped crying about missing her when I had my kids.  I realized that I didn’t have to miss her - she was everpresent and I could feel it.  Hard to explain unless you have had someone close to you die. 

No, I cried because the song is confirmation of my deepest suspicions that she was unhappy in many aspects in her life.  Her marriage was a mess.  Her choices in life didn’t work out the way she thought.  There was a marriage before my grandfather that resulted in the pregnancy of my aunt.  Her first husband wanted nothing to do with the child or the pregnancy and he abandoned her.  Which is when she met and married, at a full five months pregnant, my grandfather.  He was as good to her as he could be and I love my grandfather, despite all of his mistakes, huge personality flaws and adultery. The song is “I can’t stop loving you” - which is a heartbreaking ballad in itself.  The fact that my strongest memory is of my grandmother incessently playing and singing it breaks my heart. 

I cried because I want more for her life.  I want her to have a chance to relive all of those incidents and accidents and not be resigned to swallow it down with a forced, martyred smile on her face.  I want to picture her strong and capable, not degected and a victim of her slim choices, as many women of her time were.  She loved us with all of her being - and all that love that she poured out onto everyone, I’m afraid, was never returned to her from the men in her life.  And, being in the marriage I am - one that is beautifully composed of respect, admiration, pride and passion, I feel nothing but sadness that she never had that.  Because she deserved to feel all of it - she deserved to have more.  I want more for her.  But it is too late.

And, then, I look at my daughter - and myself - and I think that it can’t be too late.  We are how her life becomes rectified.  I know she is watching me - the choices I make, the way I will show my daughter how to be better than I could ever be, the way my daughter and I will expect more from any relationship that we forge in our lives, and the way we will remember her for all that she was and all that she couldn’t find the strength or support to be.  And I know she is proud.  But I am sad.  And, I don’t know that her sadness will ever be washed out of my heart. 

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This entry was posted on Thursday, November 2nd, 2006 at 10:01 am and is filed under Relationships, Grief and Loss, Daily Living. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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