She and I were connected to Schubert’s Ave Maria just as we are tied to each other now. I must have heard it a thousand times without it registering but when we heard it together that day, it moved us. We were in a White Rock music studio, perched over the water, the sun finding us from every direction and we were selecting the orchestra’s music for her wedding. With the final strains fading, we looked over at each other and we were both bawling snotty, messy tears; not the tidy kind you see on television wedding shows. The woman, whose home we were in, laughed large. I guess we’ve found the marriage song, then. I guess so.
I was reminded of that day when I read the message a young woman I’ve never met left on my daughter’s obituary page. It reads:
I will never stop thinking of Sadie. I look at the sunshine and I see her, because she was pure sunshine to me. I love her so much and I know I am blessed to have had her in my life. Sadie means more to me than she could ever have known. I love you, Sadie.
I simply couldn’t have said it any better. This young woman’s words reflect my memory of our Ave Maria day exactly. Pure sunshine. Since my daughter died, I mourn as much for days like that as I do for her.
We found ourselves in London, the city offering a soothing salve to our broken hearts. We feel close to her there. After a morning spent at the National Gallery, I stepped into Trafalgar Square and balmy, warm December sun. There was a violinist in the square and he turned to me and as he did he raised his violin and began to play. I knew what was coming next. Ave Maria.
Two days later, we were mooching about in Covent Garden. There’s a centre space downstairs where the students from the National Opera School gather daily to sing for spare change and adoration. We leaned over the railing with the other tourists just waiting for one of them to step forward. A young woman finally did. I felt the first note more than I heard it. Ave Maria.
Fast forward, Leeds Castle. We had the place to ourselves and went in opposite directions to fully explore this magnificent building. I found myself on a wide, high, stone staircase. It was silent. I was focused on the artwork around me and it took me unaware. There had been no music. A piano, from somewhere deep inside those walls, sounded the first note and there it was again. Alone, inside this ancient place with this music in my heart, I spoke to her, and we communed there a little while. When I went to light a candle for her at St. Paul’s Cathedral, I was momentarily turned around in traffic and lost my bearings. I looked up at the street sign and could do nothing but smile. Ave Maria Lane.
When I ponder the meaning of this music to she and me, I land not on the lyrics assigned to the piece. Instead I am drawn to the words of her friend and the light that emanates from them. How many people would remember me like that? I think I know the answer. Perhaps only her, in pure sunshine.
© Kim Reynolds 2012