Month 7: The First Recital

I used to title the posts pertaining to my mother’s death by the number of days she’d been gone. Day 11, Day 42, Day 87. I kept up with those days the same way a new mother keeps up with the weeks since her newborn’s birth. But now, it’s morphed into months. Too many days have passed since my mama took her last breath on this earth. I can’t keep track. My mother has been dead for seven months.

I just went back and re-read that paragraph and reality set in. Seven months. Seven long, agonizing, lonely months since I heard her laugh or felt her touch or watched her hands scale the keys of her piano, when it feels like only yesterday she called me on the phone and greeted me with, “Did you hear what Obama just did?”

If you’ve been following my journey since she ascended to Heaven, you know what a crucial role the piano played in her life, in my life. I’ve shared videos of her flawlessly playing by ear. I wrote, in extreme detail, (click here) about the day the movers took her baby grand out of her home. I’ve relived and written of the memories she shared on a piano bench with me every Christmas, how I can still see her teaching my 2-year-old daughter to play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”.

The bond my daughter and mother shared was absolutely beautiful. My little girl spent many weekends at her house during the school year, and weekdays at a time during the summer months. I still find mementoes she brought home in her suitcase after their time spent together. Photos of them making silly faces at the booth at Chuck E. Cheese’s, a theater receipt from the “Jurassic World” matinee, notes taken when they played school together, songs they wrote on the piano. I browse her iPad and discover text messages in which my daughter told her mammy all that she’d learned at school that day about the Titanic.

My little girl thought her grandmother was going to live forever. She thought they’d go on making memories, taking trips to the beach, laughing, having tea parties, and playing the piano together. I knew it wouldn’t last forever, but I thought we still had a lot of years left.

Recital day was always like Christmas for my mama. She was so extremely excited, and she made sure her phone had enough memory to capture the recording of her beautiful, blonde-headed granddaughter playing that Steinway in the recital hall at a local college. She and I would both tear up at all of my daughter’s performances, but especially my mother- because her grandbaby was carrying on her love of those 88 keys.

My 9-year-old daughter’s first piano recital without my mother beaming with pride from the audience took place last Sunday. On the ride there, as my little girl practiced her piece- her little fingers finding imaginary keys on the back seat- tears poured from behind my sunglasses.

screenshot_2016-04-27-10-10-32-1.pngShe sat at the piano bench in that vast recital hall, and she began to play. Looking so grown up, looking so professional and really showcasing her talent that began so many years ago in my mother’s lap as she banged the C key and sang a song about a little star up above the world so high, she played her piece. She crossed one hand over the other and her little foot pressed the pedal.

I recorded her impressive performance, my hand shaking a bit because I was nervous and excited for her, but also because I was so sad. Sad my mama wasn’t sitting close enough for me to hear her sniffle over the sound of her granddaughter playing.

My mama wasn’t physically in that recital hall, but I know she was smiling from Heaven. “Jesus, that’s my sugarbaby. Thank you for giving her the gift of piano. Thank you for letting a little bit of me live on through her.”

Month 7. That’s where I am. That’s where my little girl is. It’s been too long to accurately keep up with the days anymore, but still so fresh and so raw in our hearts. The firsts are coming and going. The first Christmas, first birthdays, first piano recitals without her here. Maybe by Christmas #35 without her presence, I won’t feel the sting as much.

But I’ll always, always, feel it- that bittersweet sting, a sting of both beauty and longing- when my daughter plays the piano.

*Mama and The Girl Playing- 2013 video below


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About Susannah

I'm a freelance writer, blogger, aspiring best-selling author, wife of one and stay-at-home mother of two. I was chosen for the Top 13 in Blogger Idol and contribute pieces to The Huffington Post and Hahas for Hoohas. My work has also been featured in several humorous e-books, "Southern Writers’ Magazine", "The Humor Daily", "The Funny Times" and on the Erma Bombeck website. When I'm not putting pen to paper, bandaging boo-boos or spraying Shout on unidentifiable stains, I enjoy reading, playing the piano and teaching my children all about Southern charm. God has blessed me beyond measure and to Him be the glory forever.

16 thoughts on “Month 7: The First Recital

  • Carmen McCage

    A blog post finally came through to me! I love you sweet sister! I’m glad we have each other to lean on!!

  • Elizabeth Dutton

    I read this in tears, knowing the sting of that first recital without my Grandfather in the crowd. It has been 15 years, 8 recitals, 2 graduations, 1 wedding and 2 babies he hasn’t been there. Still stings…until we meet again. Love you, your family and your sharing it all with us.

  • Angela

    Thank you so much for this–this video is just beautiful. I lost my mama a little over two years ago and it still feels like yesterday. I just started following your blog when I came across another one of your posts about your mother–your words felt like you were speaking for me. Please keep continuing to share. I’m so sorry–I wish I could say it gets easier but it doesn’t. We just learn to live without them. Take care.

  • Ashley Smith

    Wow….there are honestly no words. In the midst of turning my “mommy brain” off and attempting to sleep for the night, I happened across a video someone shared of you on Facebook. Which then led my curious mind to scour all of your HILARIOUS posts on your page until I landed myself on a post about your mama and then I couldn’t stop. I found myself living through all the emotions that each word held in your posts about your mama which led me somehow to here, your blog posts, and all I can say is wow. I have realized, now that I’m hysterically/ugly, silent sobbing while holding my 7 month old a little extra tight tonight, that I have been so caught up in my day-to-day life I haven’t given myself a chance to properly grieve. So, to bring this comment full circle, I just want to say thank you for being so genuine and allowing all of us readers into your life and for putting into words what I’ve been bottling up all along. You’re awesome and new found favorite blogger of mine! Thank you again!

  • Kelley Hammis

    Thank you for your blog and your honest humor. I lost my mom 16 months ago…it never gets easier. In her last dying moments as we were all together, she told my daughter (a dancer) to “tap dance across the world”….I cry every time I watch her knowing how proud my mom is and know she too is watching from heaven. God Bless:)

  • christie periman

    I lost my mom in Sept. of 2014 to a brain aneurysm. God blessed us with a few days to tell her we loved her before it ruptured pre-surgery and she never woke up. The year of firsts leading up to the one year anniversary of the passing is the hardest. I can tell you that it does get better, but the yearning for your mama never goes away. I remember the first time I noticed that a few days had went by that I didn’t think about her and I wept because I felt like I was forgetting her. Then I realized that it was just getting a little bit easier to live the day-to-day without her. Almost 2 years later, I still want to call her and ask for a recipe or let her know that my daughter has something exciting happening. It still stings when I remember she isn’t here anymore, but it is getting easier. Praying for healing and comfort for you and your family!

  • Eryn

    This is beautiful. My mom died 23 years ago this September, suddenly, when I was 11. I often miss her at milestone moments: my wedding, my sister’s, when my nephew was born. Sometimes I wonder what she would have been like as a grandmother. What would she have taught my nephew, or my own children (should they ever exist)? What would she have taught me about being a wife? Having a career? I don’t think we ever stop missing our moms once they’re gone.

  • Kayln cardwell

    This absolutely melted my heart I recently started following you and have seen many of your videos thank you for encouraging me to do many things in life I’d love to have a phone conversation with you to share a piece of my testimony my e mail is I look forward to hearing from you and god bless

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