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Songs of Sorrow

I've noticed a song that reminds me of my grandmother. I cry whenever I hear it.

When my brother died this happened with Neal Young's "Harvest Moon" - he'd get to the part about how "I want to see you dance again..." and I'd remember the drum circles I attended with my brother and how much he loved to dance - and how much I loved to dance and then I cry at the thought that neither of us would ever see the other one dance again "under the harvest moon". Since my brother was seven years older than me, as a child these drum circles under the full moon were some of the few memories I had of him. I knew he liked Neal Young's song and had requested it play at his funeral. It did and now that song always makes me cry and remember my brother dancing happily.

The song I found for my grandmother is Sinead O'Connor's "Three Babies". As far as I know grandmother was never drawn to music. This may be because by the time I knew her she was hard of hearing. The only time I ever recall her purposely playing the stuff was when PBS had some sort of big band special going on. However, Sinead's song reminds me of gram because it is really beautiful and grandma always loved beauty but mostly because the song is about a fierce mother who will do anything to protect her babes - even though they remind her of the husband she divorced. In the song she comes to terms with the fact that her ex will always be with her through her babies but it doesn't have to drive her mad or prevent her from being herself.

This song brings to mind all the times she fought for us and what she believed. Grandma would do anything to protect us. She hired lawyers and doctors for my older brother, helped me through college, assisted one brother in purchasing land and another in paying off evil debt accumulated through a tough lesson. She insisted we speak proper English and were able to defend our beliefs. Each time we had to come to her for help (and we all had our moments) she made us spell out our entire situation, what we needed, what we had learned and how her helping us would improve our situation. She protected us as well as she could be equally insisted that we generate tools to be able to protect ourselves in the future. She knew she wouldn't be with us forever.

A divorced mother in the fifties and sixties, my grandmother had to be fierce. She was both mom and dad to my father and later happily included all of us grandchildren into her brood.

I recall her insisting that I should put aside ten percent of my paycheck into a savings account - before taxes. She happily subsidized my college education both with loans and free rent but always haggled to the last penny when it came to purchasing food. Granted - she never minded feeding me but wasn't about to pay much for my fancy organic stuff that she never ate. On the other hand while I lived with her she insisted on paying half my cell phone bill because she recognized it as a valuable service for her to be able to call me any time (and she called me quite a bit).

I miss her so much - just like with my brother I miss the conversations we'll never have and how she'll never surprise me again with her unusual behavior. I am just so fortunate to have a head full of memories.

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