Good Mother

Yesterday, I shared reminiscences of my record collection and one of my favourite artists, Brian Eno.

Ah, memories.

As each December ends, Sweety and I look at memories we’ve made together, and with family and friends, in the past year. We also look ahead to what we would like to do in the coming twelve months. With the pandemic, it isn’t easy to plan out the year in terms of the places we might travel to, but we can still look ahead to the people we want to become in the next year and set in motion the work to get there.

I’m at a stage where I focus less on regrets and more on gratitude. It feels much better to observe and appreciate our lives that way. I also look back on the loved ones we’ve lost during the past year and previous years. This year, I’m working on focusing on the positives and experiencing gratitude as a warm, embracing partner to grief. (And for more on that theme, please check out American psychotherapist, author and soul work leader Francis Weller’s book, The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief.)

Today, I read a Facebook post that the Canadian singer, songwriter and actor Jann Arden wrote a few days ago on the second anniversary of her mother’s death. I recalled seeing another post she shared at the time of the death, talking about witnessing and journeying with her mother’s advancing illness. A friend shared the recent post on his wall today, and I was thankful for serendipitously seeing it. Arden’s depth and openness about her grief inspired me to share it, along with one of her songs.

Facebook post by Jann Arden, December 29, 2020.

“Good Mother” comes from Arden’s second album, Living Under June, released in 1994 (an album filled with great songs, by the way). It made me think of my mum and dad and losing them, and how the passage of time has caused me to appreciate them more for the challenges they overcame in their lives and all they provided for my siblings and me. It also made me thankful for the parenting I’ve observed in my life by being with family, friends, and my sweety.

And, as I ponder the results of a chimney inspection today that revealed anywhere from $6,000 to 11,000 CAD in repairs and improvements needed to be able to use our 115-year-old fireplace safely, I’m happy about the Himalayan salt lamp that is temporarily filling that space with its warm glow.

The Himalayan salt lamp giving its warm glow, December 30, 2020. Photo © Steve West.

The glass is definitely (way more than) half full!

Here’s the official video for the song from Jann Arden’s YouTube channel. It opens and closes with the juxtaposition of her words of thankfulness against the reality that so many people face, living with homelessness and other problems exacerbated by the current global situation. What a powerful message for opening our hearts to others less fortunate than us.

I’ve owned the CD since around the time when Arden released it, but don’t recall ever seeing this video before. Sweety and I saw Arden perform with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in the fairly recent past. It was an incredible concert with lush, orchestral treatments of her hits as well as storytelling in her entertaining, humorous and humble style.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy the music and any memories and gratitude that arise for you from hearing it.

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