Mother’s Day 2014 in the Fields of Gold: A Love Story Soundtrack of Our Lives

It’s hard to believe that in August of this year, it will be two years since Mama died. If you asked my heart, it would say it hadn’t been that long, but the heart is the last to catch up with the rest of us in the grief process, and although it Mom-March 2009 #2accepts the reality, it never really heals.

However, the holes and the voids left there remind us that even in the face of losses, we were enormously blessed to love and be loved. Tennyson was accurate when he penned this line to the poem In Memoriam A.H.H.: “‘Tis better to have loved and lost: Than never to have loved at all.”

So as I face the second Mother’s Day without Mama here, I decided to reflect on a small sample of the music that I will always associate with Mama. Either she sang it to us or it was near and dear to her heart. But when I hear this music, I see and hear the movie memories of Mama that I accumulated over the years. 

Admittedly, I still have a hard time listening to any of Mama’s music without tears and, at times, that hole in my heart feeling like a fresh wound again. But there are smiles too as I can see and hear her in my mind’s eye as if we were together back in whatever points of time where this music had its place. Bittersweet.

Of course, no post on music I associate with Mama would be complete without including Glenn Miller’s “Three Little Fishies.” Mama sang this to us while we were growing up and we delighted in her animation and dead-on rendition of the vocals and we would ask her to sing it over and over. She carried that tradition on with her grandchildren who can now sing the lyrics as well we can.

I’ve posted before that Mama really liked Jim Reeves. While “The Blizzard” was her favorite, the other song I remember her singing a lot was “Welcome to My World.” I suspect that this song reminded her of Daddy and that’s why she loved it so much.

Nat King Cole was one of Mama’s favorites as well. While she and Daddy would serenade us with “When I Fall in Love,” on a regular basis during our childhood, Mama also had a strong affinity for “Mona Lisa.” I don’t know exactly why, but there is a sort of sad overtone to the song, so maybe it reminded her of her childhood rhythm-country-blues music roots.

Elvis Presley voice made Mama’s list too. But Mama did not like the rockabilly that characterized Presley’s early career. Instead, she liked his ballads and gospel. One song that I remember Mama liked a lot was “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”

When we’d take road trips that began at night, Daddy would turn on the radio and find a station that played music from the 1950’s and 1960’s and invariably at some point this song would play and Mama would sing along while we kids were either falling asleep or sleeping in the back seat. I can almost hear Mama’s voice when I hear this song.

And I could not end this tribute to Mama’s music without including “At Last” by Etta James. I can remember hearing this song quite often growing up.  

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama. You and Daddy gave us an incredible gift when you filled our growing-up years with an incredibly extensive range of musical genres, voices, and styles.

And, you, Mama, more so than Daddy (who thought the most of the music we liked as teenagers and adults – I was into alternative music early so mine was probably what he liked least among the three of us – was “just a bunch of noise”), continued to embrace new music up until your death.

I can still see your smile watching and listening to me singing Adele and The Black Keys and your laughter at my rare attempts to also dance while singing them. I smile at the memories and I’m glad that I was able to give back that gift of music to you along the way.

I love you and I miss you, Mama. I’m looking forward to the day when we can continue adding new music to the Fields of Gold: A Love Story soundtrack of our lives. Until then, rest well.


Time Songs in My Own Fields of Gold: A Love Story Soundtrack of Our Lives

I’ve never cared much about my birthday. It seems to be a random marking of chronology that bears very little resemblance to my body or my mind. In other words, it’s just a number, but it’s a number that’s relatively meaningless in the big scheme of things. 

However, time has always been an integral part of my life. The passing of time, how much time, how little time, specific times. I have always been the “calendar” in my family. When anyone wanted to know when a particular event happened, they’d ask me. Because I record life in snapshots of time, literally being able to recall in minute detail, the videos of life in my head and being able to see the time and date stamps associated with them.

For me, time only matters in terms of what I’ve done with it, how I’ve spent it, and whether I’ve used it wisely. Time also matters in terms of the memories of the good – love and laughter – and the bad – sorrow, grief, and tears – that are the underpinnings of our lives.

And time is always a barometer against which I measure change and growth. It’s within this context that I ask the tough questions. Am I a better person now than I was then? What do I still need to change? What lessons have I learned? Was it a waste of time or did I do the best I could with the time I’ve had? Where do I go with whatever time I have left?

There have been and are a lot of days, throughout my life, when an answered prayer would be no more time. It seems to me that time, no matter how young or old you are, is something that always gives diminishing returns.

Read the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon echoes that sentiment much more eloquently than I ever could, especially in the last chapter.

But my time is not in my hands. Psalm 139:16 tells me that: “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”

So with whatever time I have left, I need to keep going, keep growing, keep changing, and recording the memories for Mama and Daddy now that they are beyond the grasp of time. Who knows? I may be their calendar in the next life, too. 🙂

So with this theme of time and birthdays, I thought today I would give a nod to some of the time-themed songs that became part of my own Fields of Gold: A Love Story soundtrack along the way.

Of course, no post about time would be complete without including Pink Floyd’s “Time:”

Two songs by Bob Seger about the passing of time have stayed with me as well over the years.

One is “Like A Rock.”

The other is “Against the Wind.”

Coldplay’s “Clocks” is a song about time that has resonated a lot with me ever since the very first time I heard the piano introduction to the song that immediately caught my attention.

And a song that figures prominently in the soundtrack of Fields of Gold: A Love Story because it has always made me think of Daddy and his strength and endurance, no matter what the odds were against him or what life threw at him, has now become of one my personal time songs because it suggests going the distance through whatever time this thing called life deals out and still remaining standing at the end of it.

That song is Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.”

Time matters. Time is wrapped around and through the soundtracks of our lives. As always, I hope you never forget the soundtrack your life from the beginning and that you’re building on that soundtrack as time passes through our lives and from one generation to another.