Before I went to Denver to be with mom for the last time in 2011, I’d listened to a lot of T. Swift’s latest CD and her songs were stuck in my head. As my plane landed, I learned mom had died only minutes before my arrival. In a daze, I made it to my brother’s house and went upstairs to be with her. I knelt by her bedside and cried, my heart breaking with the realization she was gone. The words to the song “Last Kiss” came to my mind and played as background music as I said goodbye to mom and kissed her cheek.
Hearing that song now, I am back in that moment, holding mom’s hand, sitting on the floor and thinking about how it was a last kiss – not as Taylor intended it, but poignant and real and a part of life nonetheless. The part that feels the most true is “all that I know is I don’t know how to be something you miss…” which isn’t exactly right, but evokes what I was feeling – struggling to adapt to a world that didn’t include mom.
And I don’t know how – it doesn’t feel like I’ll ever really learn. So I wear her rings and I wear her clothes and I hear that song, remembering the loss, remembering the sadness and think about how small things, unbidden, can have a much bigger impact than expected. And the music of young heartbreak touched me where I hurt most and put my pain to song, helping me sing through it.