Thursday, 9 June 2016

Today, I am singing.

This morning, as the sun broke through the clouds, I sang a song. It took me a moment to realise what I was doing. Ah, I thought, I’m singing again. I know that everything is all right when I am singing.

Today is my mother’s birthday. I should be sad, but I was not sad. There are moments when I miss her so much that I don’t know what to do with my very physical self. And there are moments when I accept her loss, understand the new reality, which is a world without her in it. This is what time does. It allows the grief to settle and gentle. It makes a new place for the lost person, a safe place, stitched deep inside, so that you can carry them with you in your heart, wherever you go.

I think of her when I am with the horses. I think of how proud she would be when the red mare is soft and tender with the great-nieces up on her mighty back. I think of how she would be pleased that at last the little brown mare is on the road to recovery, is settling in and becoming part of the family. I think of my mother when I watch the races. I know exactly what she would have said when the fleet, courageous Minding, a filly who is slight in body but monumental in heart, fought her way through the jumbling pack, so dense and messy that it almost knocked her off her feet, and ran away with the Oaks. 

It was one of the bravest things I ever saw on a racecourse, and I could hear my mother’s voice in my head. She, like me, knew that there is nothing tougher in the world than a really tough mare, nothing more loyal, more willing, more unflinching. (Minding’s trainer, the master that is Aidan O’Brien, said of his filly before the race: ‘She would cut off her leg for you.’) My mother would have had the dying fall in her voice that she used when in the presence of greatness. Minding was greatness, and I wish my mum had been alive to glory in it.

One of the most precious gifts you can give a horse is time. Time to settle into a new place, time to learn new things, time to feel at home. If you give them your own time, offer them the present of learning to read them and understand them and trace the mysterious shadows of their equine mind, they will give you everything in return. Humans too need time. The gift you can give yourself is time. The new reality can’t be hurried. You can't rush grief, or skip the hard parts, or push yourself on before you are ready. Time is a miracle, like that. So, today, I can remember happy birthdays past, when I went to the house and cooked special festive food and brought flowers, instead of mourning birthdays present, when the loved one is no longer here.

Time does not erase, nor does it fix everything. It is not a soaring upward curve; it is not the Whig School of history. Tomorrow, I may cry. Today, I am singing.

1 comment:

  1. So happy you are singing again. Beautiful picture of your lovely Mother. Your words, of course, make me a little teary. xxx


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