I'm often asked if I have a favourite song.
What a ridiculous question. It is a bit like asking if I have a favourite droplet of water or a favourite atom. There are simply too many to count.
But, I do have a special place reserved for certain songs that evoke certain memories and certain emotions. James Taylor's Secret of Life off of his 1977 release JT is one of those passion-fuelling pieces.
** I ask that you please listen to the song before reading on, even if you are well acquainted with it. It will make the rest of this piece make so much more sense.
The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time....
It seems to me that we so often dwell on trying to maintain the past and focusing on the future, that we forget to live in the present. We need to relish the mundane and see the extraordinary in the ordinary. We need to focus on the beauty all around us and treasure those dearest to us.
A year ago at this time I thought that my world was as it always had been. I had no thoughts about loss or pain. Those closest to me were happily going about their lives and we all were enjoying the passage of time. I loved carelessly and I valued less. I never foresaw the change that was coming.
The secret of love is in opening up your heart....
Our loves define us. We are who we are simply because of the people we allow in. Our loves mould us, shape us, and provide us with the clarity and foundation necessary to give us full form.
A year ago at this time my illusions and my childhood were about to come crashing down. I desperately wish she was still here. I desperately long for one more minute, one more hour, one more day. I wish I could have said goodbye, to tell her how much she was loved. But I wouldn't trade the pain of that soul-crushing and devastating loss for never having had her in my life. I love her as earnestly and as fervently today as I ever did. I am acutely aware of the hole that will never be filled.
The thing about time is that time isn't really real....
Time is the great equalizer. It affects us all and there is absolutely nothing we can do to halt its relentless march forward.
Nearly a year ago at this time I wished I could stop the clock. I wished I could erase it all and I wished that I could pretend it wasn't real. I railed at the undeserved, the unmerited, the unjustified. I railed at God. I didn't want to remember. I wanted to forget.
Last spring when we were cleaning out her things, I asked for this.
It's absolutely nothing. A few beads held together by those tiny and ubiquitous pink breast cancer ribbons. Being a survivor, she felt obliged to pay a few dollars for it at a local craft show years ago, and she kept it on one of her purses. I took it from her things and it is now dangling on my purse. I often find myself rubbing it like worry beads or perhaps, a non-religious rosary. It takes me back in time. It allows me to relive memories. It reminds me of who she was and how essential a role she played in me becoming me. As if I could ever forget.
Einstein said he could never understand it all
Planets spinning through space
The smile upon your face
Welcome to the human race.
As we come oh so close to Yahrezeit, I can now smile a bit through the tears. I am able to recall the joy even as I still acutely feel the sorrow. I am truly a work in progress as I try to remember the Secret of Life.