Today is my mother’s birthday.
As I reflect on her sweet nature and loving motherly ways, I realize that I have almost been without her as long as I had her in my life. She left me way too soon, and I will forever have a vacant spot in my heart. A blank spot that will never be filled. The loss of a mother is truly a frightening thing.
When I first heard this song, months ago, I held onto it, savored it, and listened to it over and over again. I understand his truth. This song opened up a fragile and partially healed wound in me. In an odd way, it also adds a temporary salve to that wound, and reminds me of the unique and lovely relationship of a mother and child. Sun Kil Moon’s song, “I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love” is a tribute to all mothers who are deeply loved. The unconditional love of a mother is a precious, powerful thing that provides strength and can be life sustaining. This song reflects that back perfectly.
“I can live with the sky falling out from aboveI can live with your scorn, your sourness, your smugI can live growing old alone if push comes to shoveBut I can’t live without my mother’s love”
Sun Kil Moon is a folk rock act from San Francisco, California and is the vocalist and guitarist, Mark Kozelek. His distinctive acoustic ballads are his hallmark and this tune is no exception. He writes and sings of relatable humanity. His entire album, Benji, is pretty powerful music that clearly maps and connects the beauty and sadness of relationship. Stories, all of them are musical, lyrical stories.
Somehow, as much as I fought the fear of being in the world without my mother’s guidance and support, I have oddly become stronger, more self assured, and more determined to be my own person. My sadness and fear was eventually buried and over time something amazing sprouted in its place. If you were to ask me about surviving, way back when I was deep in my pain, I would have never expected any flickers of light to appear after the darkness of losing my mother, my dearest friend. That illuminating light comes from time to time when I recall my happy memories of her.
Today is the day that I remember her life and all that she meant to me and my family. I made a point of going to church and being sure to light a candle with a quiet prayer in her honor, despite the lack of sleep I had last night. This ritual is important to me and makes me feel closer to her somehow. We shared so many things in common, and yet I see how very different I am even though everyone always commented that I look almost exactly like her. She was a good mother because she guided me, but let me, be me.
Just as Mark describes in this song, it is the simple things I remember most. Those simple moments of my memories…..her glorious genuine smile, passing the summer breaks playing board games, watching her needlepoint with ease, her repeated calls to the dinner table, the carefully planned family gatherings which included layered caramel cake, never running out of topics to discuss on our daily phone calls, long car rides of woven family memories, my weekly surprise packages in college, and her lovely south Alabama drawl that gathered all to lean in and listen.
Time is so fleeting, if your Mama is anywhere near, please go and hug her for me.
Happy Birthday, dear, sweet mom.