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The Legacy of Our Mothers: How their Lives and Love Shape Us Forever

Several months ago, as I was going through the papers in my dad’s filing cabinet, I came across Unexpected Buried Treasure.

 There, in a file marked “ Important Items,” between a copy of the deed to the house that had long since been sold, his Master’s Degree in Chemistry diploma, and his life insurance policy, was a yellowed, dog-eared document:

 “The Music Inside” 

by Susan Hall, 1993

I set the other papers aside and sat down cross-legged on the carpet to read the forgotten essay and savor the memories of my mother, so lovingly preserved by my father, reaching out to me across the decades. The paper had me thinking about the power of our mothers, and how they influence us and shape our lives.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I am missing my mom more than ever. 

And yet, as I’ve learned, our mothers never really leave us. 

They are in our DNA after all. They live on in the lessons they have taught us, and how we live our lives to honor their legacy.   

My mother taught me that Happiness is an Inside Job. 

She sparkled with joy. 

Not because her life was always easy.

She often worked hard to feel happier in life. She made conscious and intentional decisions daily to focus on the grace, not the gray. To look for, not the fault in others, but the light, the music that is inside all of us, if we only choose to reveal it… to illuminate it…to amplify it. 

How has your mother, or perhaps another’s mother, shaped who you are today? 

What influence have they had on who you’ve become as an adult? 

What if, this Mother’s Day, you took the time to thank them if they are still here on this earth? 

And even if they are not?

Can you take a few moments this Mother’s Day to truly savor the gifts they gave you? 

Happy Mother’s Day, to all of you who lift us up. 

Let your light shine. 

Let your music resonate. 

With So much Love,  


"The Music Inside"

“Do you think it still works?” I asked, running my gloved hand along the peeling veneer of the old upright Steinway.

"I don't know," she answered, gently lifting the creaking lid on its rusted hinges. She shook her head sadly. "It certainly won't survive the winter if it's left outside like this." 

I shrugged my jacket up over my ears against the brisk autumn air, wondering what would ever prompt anyone to abandon an ancient piano outdoors, in the middle of a wooded park.

Gingerly, my mother touched a cracked ivory key, wincing at the discordant sound made by the untuned string. Her graceful fingers splayed across the keys as her foot reached instinctively for the one remaining pedal, long since rusted into place. 

"It's been so long since I've played. Wait…wait…,” she urged her hands to recall the chords.

"Play Edelweiss," I said, softly. 

And slowly, instinctively, her hesitant fingers remembered the music. I closed my eyes and felt the swell of tears beneath my eyelids as the memories washed over me with the sweet strains of the melody.

I remembered the old, black upright piano that, for so long, was a fixture in my parents’ living room. How, at six years of age, I’d perch myself in the narrow space between its side legs. Nestled in that special place, I’d listen for hours while she played, or as Dad read to me and my brothers from our Golden Books while Mom peeled Macintosh apples for a bedtime snack. And when I had grown too big to fit there, I’d take my place beside Mom on the bench. I’d watch, enthralled, as her long, tapered fingers glided magically across the keys. She’d play all of my favorites, taking requests from my father and brothers as well. 

And I knew her favorite song. 

"Play Edelweiss," I’d beg. And I’d close my eyes, captivated by the inexplicable poignancy of the melody.

"Where is the music coming from?" I’d asked once, mystified by the connection between her fingers and the harmonies they produced.

 "The piano makes the sounds," she explained the mechanics of it, showing me the strings and hammers. "But you tell the piano what to do. The music is in here," she said, touching my blonde head. “And in here,” she said, gently tapping my heart. ‘It’s always there. It’s just up to you to play it.”

Through the years my mother would often seek solace at her piano, sometimes wistfully remembering her own mother through tender, nostalgic melodies and then, strengthened again through livelier ones. Through birthday songs and Christmas carols, trombone and clarinet lessons, she accompanied the events of our lives on her piano.

"Come on,”she said, her voice breaking the sweet spell. I opened my eyes. "Do you remember ‘Heart and Soul’?”

And I was back in the here and now, dutifully intent on butchering my part of the duet with my two index fingers. Laughing, we demonstrated our feeble repertoire to the squirrels and the trees, giggling as we bumped shoulders and hit flat notes.

The twilight sun set the trees on fire with its final flourish before sinking behind the mountain, casting its Midas touch on the brilliant leaves around us. My mother played on, oblivious to the riot of gold the sun had made with her hair. 

And once again, I drew back into myself, feeling the peace and majesty of the moment, and whispered a silent thanks for this woman who had taught me about the Music Inside of me, the Music inside of all of us.

To listen to a lovely, little piano rendition of Edelweiss, 

so very reminiscent of my mother’s, click here.  

Are you missing your Mom?

Want A Little Bit More Happy in your life, just once or twice a month? click here.

Decide Happy is now available in paperback, e-Book, and Audio, wherever books are sold, including Amazon.

145 views2 comments

٢ تعليقان

Therese Hyatt
Therese Hyatt
١١ مايو

As usual, your writing made me cry. I am missing my Mom. I miss everything about her. She was a wonderful and strong woman. I’m so grateful to have had her as my Mom.

الرد على

We were so lucky to have such Wonderful Moms, weren't we? I miss mine every day. Happy Mother's Day, my dear friend.


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