Sunday, November 17, 2013

Misty Days Remind Me of Mom

"The fog was where I wanted to be."
~ Eugene O'Neill, Long Day's Journey into Night

I was one of those children whose idea of a good time was spending a whole weekend watching horror movies on our black-and-white TV. We lived in a large old house surrounded by ancient, heavy trees. Misty, rainy days take me right back there. I can hear the water falling. And I hear my mother's music.

My mother was a shy woman who grew up with three aggressive sisters and parents who didn't get along. But I don't think that's why her musical taste was so melancholy; it's just the way she was.

And she adored music. She played classical music on the piano and listened to music on our bulky hi-fi cabinet whenever she could.

Below, I've included three songs that make me think of mom whenever I hear them. Sorry about the embedded ads, though. So: Ella Fitzgerald singing "Where or When", Eva Cassidy singing "Autumn Leaves" and Erroll Garner playing "Misty".

"It is not the clear-sighted who rule the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a warm, blessed fog."
~ Joseph Conrad


  1. So lovely. Thank you for the beauty of this musical interlude. My dad loved music, my mom preferred to work and read in silence, she was actually bothered by music. I admire people who soak it in as your mother and my dad did. Love to you on your misty, rainy evening. I talked to my 92-year-old mom this evening. She is still surprisingly lucid and connected despite her early or middle or…? dementia. A friend of mine, whose parents are further along on the same track, reminded me that the brain is not all or nothing, and we participate in a mysterious transition with someone whose memory fades and moves them away from us. I don't look forward to my mom's absence, to the moment when I can never ask one more question, or call one last time, but I am preparing for it. xo.

    1. I'm so glad you're still able to have conversations with your mom, but sorry she wasn't a music fan. Music is one of the things that stays with people longest. My mom could still play the piano when almost everything else stopped making sense, and I've seen videos of the effect it can have on otherwise unreachable dementia patients. In "Musicophilia", Oliver Sacks writes about people who have a neurological condition called "amusia" that makes music sound like noise. I wonder if that's what your mom has.

      I agree with your friend about the unpredictability of the progression. Treasure the days you still have - I know you will.