Monday, November 20, 2006


I went to a performance of Mozart's Requiem with my Mom, Dad and sister yesterday afternoon. We haven't done something like this in so long. Someone's always sick or too busy, or I'm too sad, or we intend to it and just never get around to arranging it. But we pulled it off yesterday. It felt like I'd traveled back in time to simpler days when trying to escape from sorrow wasn't my primary pastime.

Listening to the music was a wonderful distraction. It's a terrible cliche, but it truly did transport me, taking me away from the cares of my world for 56 lovely minutes. I felt uplifted by its beauty, even though it was music for a funeral mass. And even though the concert took place in the church where we held Thomas' funeral. For some reason I was able to divorce myself from that reality, despite the fact that yesterday was the first time my family has been to that church with me since that sad, sunny day in March 2005. It was the first time we'd all sat together in those pews since that awful day.

But although I made a mental note of that fact, it didn't bother me. I was peaceful and content.

I even wandered off on a brief flight of fancy, wondering if it would be possible to swing having Mozart's Requiem Mass performed in its entirety at my own funeral. If it's possible to laugh one's ass off after death, I would be doing so as my very long and ridiculously melodramatic funeral dragged on and on in all its musical splendor.

I don't suppose anyone else would see the humor in an extra long and drama-filled funeral, but it sure would be funny to me. You know, what with me being joyfully reunited with Thomas and everyone I've loved and lost, sitting on my cloud in the happy place.

But I digress.

Midway through the concert I began to think loftier, headier thoughts (ones that didn't involve funeral planning) when I caught sight of the hands of the frail old lady beside me. She was one of those old people that you can't believe is still alive. She looked like bones loosely wrapped in spotted crepe paper and she nodded off peacefully about halfway into the Requiem.

I looked at her hands, then looked at my own. Hers were gnarled with wear, the translucent skin clinging to tendons and swollen knuckles. Mine were firm, pink and plump. A few scars here and there, but otherwise strong and capable looking.

There we were, side by side. Old and young. And I started thinking about how much life I still have - or presume I have - and how there's still so much beauty to be drunk in and savored.

This tiny, frail lady suddenly seemed so strong to me. She was there too, just like me, enjoying the music on a chilly Sunday afternoon. Living her life and enjoying her days. I don't know what sorrows she endured during the course of her life, but there she was just the same, being lulled into a restful slumber by beautiful harmony written hundreds of years ago.

I want that too. I want to stop living in a cloud of sorrow and misery punctuated by moments of sun and cheer. I want to stop wishing for someone to turn back time. I want to once again be aware of the beauty around me and I want to make the world beautiful while I'm here. I don't want to eke by, barely surviving for the rest of my life because sorrow cut me off at the knees and killed the light within me.

I can't do that to me, to My Beloved, to our future - or to Thomas. He can't be the reason I died inside.

I want to be a frail old lady at a Sunday afternoon concert closing my eyes and dreaming to the music, remembering a life that I made happy.


Shan said...

I want to be that lady too. :-)

Aidan's Mom said...

We should all try to live life that way, thanks for putting it so eloquently. Wishing you a full and happy life.. there is so much more of it to be lived!!!!

Denise said...

Beautifully said!

Laura said...

That was a wonderful, beautiful post and one that I really needed to read. Thank you so much.

There is something about Mozart, particularly the Requiem, that is just not of this world. It's the kind of music that fills you up. I'm so glad that you got to see it (because if any piece of music is life changing, this is it), and I'm so glad that you left with such a full heart.

Katie said...

Thanks. Great post.

My husband wants Lynyrd Skynyrd's song Simple Man played at his funeral. Rock on.

Abby said...

Wow, what a beautiful and powerful post.

You already do make the world beautiful with your amazing writing and just by being you.

H&S, as always!

cjzben said...

A beautiful post, it really touched me today and I needed it.
Thank you my friend.

Woman who knits said...

What a wonderful way to remind us 30-somethings that we have only lived a small piece of our lives and there is so much more out there for us.