“Oh very young / what we leave at this time / we’re only dancing on this earth for a short while ...” – Cat Stevens, “Oh Very Young”
Hi, Mom. It’s nearly Mother’s Day. This year’s song is by Cat Stevens. An odd choice, perhaps, since you weren’t young when you died. Plus, the only Cat Stevens song which I ever heard you sing was “Morning has Broken”, at church.
You loved to sing hymns. Your favourite was “Fairest Lord Jesus”. You had a distinctive, natural vibrato. I’ve inherited a bit of the vibrato, as well as looking more and more like you as the years pass, and I age.
I wish I could talk with you about ageing, and grief.
“There is no love without loss” is perhaps the best thing I’ve ever written. It’s certainly the truest.
I loved you, I lost you. Part of the price of aging is that the number of people we lose – and the number of funerals we attend – increases. Cyndi died years ago, just before the millenium. I lost my beloved father-in-law in the early 2000s, whilst my friend Betsy died late last year.
Youtube, which I searched for “Oh Very Young,” has moved on to Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle”. Apt, indeed. I’m back in the 70s, in my friend Kathy’s basement, listening to our mutual friend Jill sing this very song. She had a beautiful voice.
My self pity over my early stage breast cancer has been put into perspective, as I think of friends who recently lost a child. Oh so very, very young.
I’ll try and make the best of the years ahead, Mom. I like to think you would have been amused by the short stories in my collection, “Koi Carpe Diem”, and would be urging me to finish the sequel, “A Yorkshireman in Ohio”. A part of me is pleased that you died before they told me I have cancer. I know you would have worried yourself sick.
Love you, Mum. I’ll see you again. I’m sure of it, more sure than I’ve ever been.
I’ll try not to let it be too soon.