Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mag 45 - Let It Be

"That's beautiful, Honey Girl. Did you write that song?"  Harper's mother tilted her head back on her pillow in reverie at hearing yet another new tune filling the room. For months now she assumed that her daughter wrote each piece of music that Harper put on the table player for her, because for that same amount of time she had believed that she had raised a composer instead of a middle school music teacher.

"Listen to this!" she would beckon to nurses in the hallway. "My daughter wrote this!" Once or twice lately she had not recognized Harper, yet with just as much delight with the music she would offer, "I was in college with the man who wrote this song," or "Who made up those words?.....I think it was Mrs. Kennedy," and "Someone I loved long ago wrote this music just for me."

"No, Mum, not me. Try to remember now; this is one of your favorite songs. It was ..."

Harper's words were cut off mid-sentence by her mother's all-knowing nod and pleased smile, as she assured, "I know it! It is one of my favorite songs of yours!"

"No. Mum. I did not write this one," said Harper, buffering the news that she had never in her life written a piece of music or any lyrics, for that matter. The last time she had bluntly said that she did not write music, only taught kids to play it, her mother had been inconsolable for the hours remaining in that week's visit. Harper had driven the 50 miles home from the care center with tears streaking her face with absolutely no music playing in the car.

"Ah, I love it," whispered her mother. "Love it, love it, love it." There. There it was again, that look on her mother's face that Harper was seeing more of each week. It miraculously wiped away age while it wiped away all expression, pale skin and gray hair morphing into pillow case and leaving only two small glazed blue eyes as proof her mother was there underneath those covers.

"You always did, Mum. After the good times ended you called it your anthem."

Feeling as if she were alone in the room, Harper began telling of how her love of music came from her childhood that was filled with her parents' music. They sang and danced -- there were always friends around in those days -- in the house in winter and out on the huge deck under the ginkgo trees in summertime. The Stones, Janis Joplin, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Country Joe McDonald and the Fish, Jethro Tull, It's A Beautiful Day, Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane, and -- above all others -- The Beatles, created the background music of her early life. Harper took center stage sometimes as the crowd urged her on to "Dance like there's no tomorrow!" but more often she watched her young parents and their friends from the sidelines. She appreciated them in all their beauty and color and scent of patchouli and thought they were perfect and that none of them would ever forget those days.

"I forgot!" her mother cried out, interrupting Harper's recounting of the past. The song, set on repeat, began playing again, and her mother quieted as she sat up rigid in her bed. "If you didn't write the song then who did?" she whimpered with tears glistening in her blue eyes.

Harper left the plant she had been unconsciously pruning with her fingernails as she talked and moved a tray off of her mother's bed to get close, really close, to the innocent one sitting there. With the cold frame of the bed supporting her back Harper wrapped her arms around her mother to console her. The woman who once taught her generations of songs nestled against Harper's chest, fingering the soft folds of her cashmere sweater.

Looking up into Harper's face she whispered a confession: "I lost the song, Mommy."

"Shhh. No worry now." Harper rocked her mother's frail body in time with the song's ending chorus. "Do not worry. Just let it go. Let It Be."

MLydiaM ~ December 2010

The top image is this week's photo writing prompt at Magpie Tales.

More about Let It Be at Songfacts.



Jinksy said...

Last, but not least, of the Mgpies I've read this week. Have a gold star and go to the top of the - er - tree - er - class? Take your pick! LOL :)

Helen said...

Those are powerful words ... Let It Be! Thank you for the gift of your Magpie today.

bfk said...

What a wonderful touching scene. Simply great, Lydia.

kathew said...

wonderful post- enjoy this gorgeous day!

kj said...

OMG lydia, this is amazing writing. it is totally excellent, powerful, touching, compelling.

what a scene you've created. all the small details, pruning the plant, leaning back on the bed--they are the work of a very good writer.

i loved it.


Angie Muresan said...

Oh Lydia. This is so touching. Alzheimer's is so sad. So sad. The mother of one of my closest friends suffers from it, and it's devastating for all.

Lydia said...

Jinksy~ Your comment made my day, really! Thanks much and I'll be by to visit soon.

Helen~ Your calling my Magpie a gift meant so much to me! Thank you. I'm glad we have a week's break so I can catch up on reading so many Magpies I missed last week and this one too!

bfk~ You know I loved your comment.

kathew~ Thank you! And, he he, when I first read your comment early in the day it was indeed a beautiful day, but it sure did go downhill from there. Gloomy afternoon...good reading weather!

kj~ Wow, your comments went straight to my heart, where they are so appreciated. Thanks much. xo

Angie~ Thank you and my thoughts go out to your friend. I have not had a relative afflicted with Alzheimer's, but an old friend here in Salem is in later stages now and it breaks my heart that this brilliant and artistic man's life will end this way.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post Lydia - a very sad disease.

susan said...

That's a very beautifully written story. You deserve much praise for your tender description of a child's love and heartbreak as her mother slips away.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

ok - so this feels 100% real - i can really relate to these two people and it's beautifully told

The Beatles were great and Let It Be is a fantastic song

Lydia said...

madamebutterfly~ Thank you, butterfly. Let's hope a cure is discovered sooner than later...

susan~ I thank you for your kind comments. It touches me that you liked it so much. I so appreciate the photo prompts that Tess provides for us in her weekly Magpie Tales, as sometimes the right words seem to tumble forth.

Pixies~ Thank you 100%! That means a lot.
Agreeing fully with your last sentence.

mythopolis said...

I found this particularly meaningful. My mom recently passed, and for the two previous years I had observed her daily at the nursing home, withering away with a double whammy of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Thanks.

La Belette Rouge said...

Unbelievably beautiful. Made me cry, in a good way So very poignant. My grandmother( the one who taught me I was lovable) had alzhmeimers and she forgor who i was.

Lydia said...

mythopolis~ I am so touched by your comment and filled with sympathy for your loss. Deep peace to you this holiday.

Belette Rouge~ If in a good way then ok. :) I did not know the story about your grandmother, and she taught you well, and I think that a part of her never forgot who you were because she was amazing and you are unforgettable.



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