Almost every year around this time, I find myself putting Joni Mitchell's Blue album on without even thinking about it. Something about the air turning colder, the hustle in the world about the holidays coming and the end of another season, brings me a feeling of longing, missing my mother and needing some calm space in my soul. This album does just that for me. It always brings me right back to my mom, the bittersweet longing I have in my heart to see her face to face again, but also the comfort she made me feel. I love that music can have this human connection for our hearts, long after someone is gone.
Joni was someone my mom loved to share with me. She told me stories of how she sang 'River' to me when I was a baby, and it ironically became one of my favorite songs as I grew older and began to choose what I loved on my own. Something about that song has always struck such a deep chord within me, as I know it did my mom too. Which I why I have the lyrics, 'I wish I had a river I could skate away on' tattooed on my arm, wrapping around other imagery that reminds me of my mother's spirit. The beautiful thing is I doubt any musician ever knows how deeply a song may touch someone's life, even so many years later. It is a transcending art form that can evoke so many deep emotions that we sometimes don't even realize we have until the music brings it out in us. That is art.
When my mother was dying of cancer, there came a time when she could no longer speak to us, or even focus her eyes to see us anymore. It was such a hard time to physically watch her slip away from us like that. There was a moment I was alone with her, and my words were not coming. I wanted to talk to her, to let her know I was there, but I had no idea if she heard me or not. I didn't know what to do, so I got the cd player and put on Joni's blue album. When the song River came on, I sang it to her, just like she sang it to me when I was a baby, with tears streaming down my face. Then, the next song on the album is 'A Case of You', another one of our mutual favorites that we would sing together all the time while we were working. She opened her eyes and sang every single word with me, and then as soon as the song was over, she went back into her otherwordly state. It was the most bittersweet moment I have ever experienced in my entire life, and most likely ever will. A moment in time that this beautiful musician above, captivated one last bonding moment for me and my mother. I will never forget it, and will always be grateful for the thread that music can weave between two souls, keeping us together long after we are made to part physically. This is also true for people who are still alive, but can no longer be a part of your life. There will always be songs, that the moment you hear them, you immediately feel a closeness or longing for that person. It is magic, I truly believe.