My mother never knew about the death of her grandson; in 2007 when he died she was fighting for her own life. Later, when she pulled through, it seemed unnecessarily cruel to burden her with a reality she need never have to face. After all, he lived across the ocean. But now I wonder, does she know? Are they together and getting to know each other?
At this unavoidably religious time of year, the faith of my childhood is easily stirred: images of mothers and infants are ubiquitous and the refrains of traditional Carols drift through the background of my thoughts. I have always loved singing Christmas Carols, not the American Christmas kitsch of Rudolf and Frosty but ”The Coventry Carol” and “In the bleak mid-winter.” When singing Carols I don’t hold back, I sing loud and harmonize freely. My boys used to be a little embarrassed but then James starting enjoying the harmonizing fun himself. It’s good for those around me that I have a decent voice, but I’m not sure tone-deafness would stop me. Then again, maybe it’s just the no holds barred sing along that I enjoy.
In Ireland on the night of my mother’s funeral, the entire family group walked into the small town and, with permission from the owner who knew my Dad’s family well, took over the front bar and had a great musical evening. Starting with Irish drinking songs we easily moved to more contemporary fare and even some original songs. It was wondrous, joyous and something I didn’t realise I missed so much.
Maybe I need to look up that Carolling event this evening in town.