Ruth, God, and pipe organs.

Laura and Ruth. Her face says it all. 1985? 8th grade

My mother was an incredibly accomplished pianist and organist.

As a teen, she was trained on the famous pipe organ at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah.

As a college student, she made side money as an accompanist for vocal auditions.  This is a job that is reserved for the best of the best, as it requires the ability to sit and sight read any piece of music AND to follow the tempo set by the vocalist.

As an adult she was always the organist and pianist for any and all congregational music events within the Mormon Church

Ruth was just an overall kick ass musician.

So, when on Monday evening, when I had to opportunity to attend a Christmas concert at Broadway Baptist church, and the pipe organ opened up during the congregational hymns, I felt my mother, and I kind of lost it.  Yeah, there may have been some ugly tears.

I have so many things I want to express.

  • like, how my love of classical and all music stems from singing show tunes at the top of my lungs accompanied by my mother, from watching the Van Cliburn every four years on PBS, from “helping” her practice.  (I was the conductor from a very very young age)
  • like, how it just sucked to see this vibrant, beautiful, wicked smart, freaking amazingly gifted woman decline and wither (Ruth hated the word “sucked”  hee hee)
  • like, how I think she hung around so long so I could learn patience, (yeah mom and God, how’d that work out?)
  • like, how she would just sit for hours and listen to Cai play piano.  I wonder how that hurt sometimes.  To have lost that skill and capability.  To no longer be able to do that which once came so easily and brought such joy.  Yet she relished in her granddaughter and those shared talents.

So much.  so many memories.  and I just miss her.

My mother loved my children.  Adored.  She was there for their blessings.  For their baptisms, for graduations, ordinations, and so much more.  No matter how ill, or weak, or in pain she was, MY MOM SHOWED UP.  So her absence at Dane’s wedding also sucked.  And hurt.

Final story, and then I’ll dry my tears and move on.

During a visit in November of 2015, mom fell repeatedly.  She often fell while trying to do chores or cooking or some other task that was beyond what her little body could handle.  And I got pissed.  Frustrated.  Scared.  So I told my mother how the cow chewed the cabbage.  I told her that she needed to STOP taking such risks.  That she was going to get injured and injure others as well.  I will, forever remember her response.

In a rare moment of lucidity, she tearfully responded,  “I’m just trying to take care of my family, and I guess I’m not doing a very good job.”

I was immediately humbled.  (kind of felt shitty if you want the truth)  Went weak.  Held my mother and reassured her that she was doing just fine.

This was the last face to face interaction I had with my mother before she passed in February of 2016.  Even in illness, pain and near death, my mother was my greatest teacher.

Teaching, serving, loving, CARING for her FAMILY, this was my mother.  She was not perfect (who is?!)  But at her core, was  and is LOVE.

Why does this matter?  Will it make you a size 2?

I don’t know.  What I do know, I hear a lot of people bitching about their families around the holidays.  And year round.  MYSELF INCLUDED.  Get over it.  Go hug your people.  Smile.  Laugh.  Forgive.

Light and Love,

Big Laura (who is not feeling so big, and is missing her mom)


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