Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom

~ Mom, there is so much I could say about you, much too much to write here. Instead I am going to print the words to two songs. The first one is a reminder to me of the beginning of my life with you. And the second one is a reminder to me of the end of your life with us. ~

This first song is an Irish lullaby. I’ve seen a couple versions of this song, but I’m going to use the words my mother sang to me. My Mom told me my name came from this song, in it there are two names she liked – Eileen and Colleen - and my Mom decided on Eileen for me.
My Mom would sit in a rocker in our living room and I would climb up into her lap and say to her, “Sing me Irish, Mommy.” And my Mom would sing me ‘Irish’.

I - is for the Irish in your tiny heart, my dear
R - means right and when you’re right, you have no wrong to fear
E - is for Eileen, your mother’s name I mean, and
L - is for the lakes where I first met my own Colleen
A - is for the Angels who are watching over you
N - means never frown, just keep smiling through and through, and
D - is for your Daddy’s lessons, which I hope will be a Blessing
and that’s how I spell Ireland.

The second song actually reminds me of both my Mom and Dad at the end of my Mom’s life. Mom had Alzheimer’s Disease and she was lost to all of us, and it was especially hard on my Dad. They had a strong marriage, they adored each other, and throughout their relationship my Dad was always able to make any situation right for my Mom, that is until this sickness took over her mind and took control of their lives. After this insidious disease reared it’s ugly head, nothing was ever the same for either one of them again. My Mom spent her last years searching for something that would continuously elude her. One day in the last year of her life my Mom kept saying the word ‘dream’ over and over again to my son Erik. Erik asked her if she had dreams and she said yes. He asked her what it was that she dreams about and she said to him, “I dream that a nice man comes and takes me back to my life.” As hard as my Dad tried, he could not take my Mom back to her life. My Dad spent the last years of my Mom’s life searching for his girl, searching for some little sign of recognition from her, searching for some way to get into her world, or to bring her back into his world, back to their life together, but it was not to be.

~ Somewhere Only We Know ~

I walked across, an empty land
I knew the pathway like the back of my hand
I felt the earth, beneath my feet
Sat by the river and it made me complete

Oh, simple thing, where have you gone?
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when, you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin.

I came across, a fallen elm tree,
I felt the branches; are they looking at me?
Is this the place, we used to love?
Is this the place that I've been dreaming of?

Oh, simple thing, where have you gone?
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on
So, tell me when you’re gonna let me in
I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin
So if you have a minute why don't we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything.
So why don't we go, so why don't we go
Somewhere only we know.
by Keane

~ I’m glad you finally found some peace, Mom.
And I’m thankful that you and Dad are reunited.
Everything about you two feels so right again. ~

~ Hey, Mom, remember the time you took Grandma’s German antique wax Baby Jesus and you put Him into the dishwasher because you thought He was kind of dirty looking?! Remember how He got kind of squished up? And remember He used to have these beautiful golden locks until after you washed Him and then His blond curls were gone and His hair stuck straight out and frizzed and we said it looked as if He had stuck His finger into a lamp socket? Remember how we laughed and laughed?
I still have Grandma’s Baby Jesus, Mom, and I take Him out every Christmas, and He still has the blond frizzed Hair, and the squished Head, and I think of you and I think of all the good times and I smile.
It feels good to be able to say to you once again the word ‘Remember’.

I really love and miss you so much, Mom.
Happy Birthday! ~


  1. This post is just so beautiful and now I'm crying. You have a gift with words. I only wish I had the melody for these songs as I've never heard them. My sweet mom always sang Brahm's lullaby to me...guess no one ever taught her the Irish ones as only her father was second generation Irish (and barely at that, since his sisters were born in Ireland!). Anyway, I miss my mom terribly and her birthday is close to your mom's as it is April 3rd and I'm having a Mass said for her.

    I also read your adorable comments on experiences with your own little ones as well as a class. They made me smile!

    I will say a special prayer for you mom today and wish awesome blessings on you,
    p.s. How did you get the name Umma?

  2. Thank you, Marcy, I'm finally at a peaceful place of acceptance with everything my Mom went through and losing her. It was three years last month that she's been gone now, and I still miss her so much so I can relate to how you feel about your Mom too. Thanks for your good thoughts and prayers, they mean a lot. And you and your Mom will be in my prayers also. I'll be thinking of you both on April 3 (that happens to be my husband's brother's birthday [Eric, we lost him eight years ago, he was only fifty], so that's a special date to us too).

    My grandson Jayden christened me with Umma, he couldn't say Grandma and Grandpa when he first started talking, it came out Umma and Paw, and so we are!