This time last year we were at the top of Mt. Philo looking at the view across Lake Champlain, trying to reconcile a life of new possibilities with an unexpectedly sudden ending. Just two months after her move to an independent living apartment in Vermont, my Mom passed away on Veterans' Day.
I spent time last night and again this morning, playing the piano and letting the music both remind me of her, and soothe me. Some songs made me feel like I was practicing on the old spinet on Castle Street and she was just in the kitchen, doing dishes and calling out occasional words of encouragement. Other songs I knew were particular old favorites of hers and I wished I had played them for her in recent years. She knew those years of lessons had inspired my constant playing while I lived at home, but did she know how it continues even now?
Among the many songs I play, the one that brings Mom closest is 'Mother's Evening Prayer', a hymn by Mary Baker Eddy. I learned it in Sunday School and always loved it, but when it was sung at my Grandma Engel's funeral, it took on deeper associations of a mother's presence, peace and joy, and constant, comforting love. On one of her last days in the hospital, when she had stopped talking or opening her eyes, I read the words of that hymn to her. As I finished the last line, 'And mother finds her home and heavenly rest', she opened her eyes for just a minute, and smiled. She knew her mother's work was done.