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Songs of Love and Grief

Mourning changes frequency; it alters shape and texture and the force of its grip around your throat, but it never ceases.

Sadness is an acquired taste. What was once cardboard and ash has turned largely bittersweet - palatable but with a sharp aftertaste.

When lived with for long enough, grief becomes as companionable as the family pet.

And yet, and yet, even after all these years there are still moments that undo the seams of my heart as deftly as if I had never healed at all.

Mine is an old loss, technologically unsound. It comes from an age before camcorders, or digital photographs. There are not many mementoes of my father left - only a handful of memories, and the odd ghost caught in the half-light. I mourn all the vanishings of him, the great and small, and the sharpest of these is the loss of his voice.

There are no recordings of my father singing and my memory is a poor conjurer. It is a child's memory of notes that trembled in the air, and church choirs, of ears pressed against a chest to hear the sonorous song within. Interwoven with these other people's stories, of how his voice had made them weep, and the sadness of his frustrated music, of the dreams that never were.

Sometimes, briefly his voice comes to me in dreams. At other times I hear a note, or a fragment which opens a door in memory and summons a longing that's the knife-edge of grief.

The latest of these is Popstar to Operastar (a show incidentally which my father would have hated; while I watched it I could feel the glow of his indignant rage because those men aren't singing right!).

And occasionally I strike it lucky, and a doorway opens in time, and I find something that is not the same, but very very very similar indeed:


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 1st, 2010 11:07 am (UTC)
I don't know what my father sounded like. My mother once told me that his voice was a little bit like one of the actors in Taggart; I listened and it sent shivers up my spine. It is strange not to have a record of something so fundamental.
Feb. 3rd, 2010 10:37 am (UTC)
Yes. And strange to hunt a man through scraps.

At least though, you write a lovely blog which will be something for your kids to have and to hold one day.
Feb. 1st, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, the way you write....

(Maggie, dammit)
Feb. 3rd, 2010 10:35 am (UTC)
Thank you Maggie, for the visit and the compliment. :)
Feb. 5th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
Five Star Friday
This weblog is being featured on Five Star Friday: http://www.fivestarfriday.com/2010/02/five-star-fridays-edition-90.html

Feb. 11th, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Five Star Friday
OOoh, thank you. How thrilling.
Feb. 5th, 2010 07:40 pm (UTC)
Your writing is marvelous.
Feb. 11th, 2010 01:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


deep sky, firefly

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