So, I am once again at that stage of thinking about songs for a funeral service , this time for my Mum. It is difficult trying to encapsulate someone’s life in a song. For me, the starting point is to listen to what others say about the person and reflect on what you know of them. Doing this, I kept coming back to Mum’s maternal instinct, something perfectly encapsulated in the country song Mother by Sugarland:
She'll take you in, feed your friends. Her open arms are welcoming … [She’ll] Hold your fear and all your worries.
Right from her early years when she was kept off school to look after her younger brother, caring for people had always formed the focus of her life. Looking at the picture above, I am reminded just how much my Mum would come to life when she was with her grandchildren. For Mum, being a friend, mother, grandmother to others defined who she was. As the song puts it:
She stands here to help you.
This is not to say that Mum was perfect. None of us are. But she cared for others and wanted them to grow from that to find their own life and independence. The song explores this idea with lyrics like:
She don't care who you give it [love] to. Where they're from, if they pray like you. As long as they are good to you, that's enough.
So, what have I learned from Mum’s life? It’s really easy to get obsessed with our own life journey and our search for meaning and purpose. This self-focus wasn’t something that concerned Mum, she found her meaning and purpose in caring for others. That is something which provides us with a real challenge. To really find ourselves, we need to learn to give ourselves away.
I’ll leave the last word with the song; She's your mother, you love her. There won't be another.
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