"Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” - arr. Ann Ker Hall/Kelly Ker Hackleman
Updated: May 12
Okay, I got another inspiration from the small screen… We’ve been watching “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” It’s a very unusual show. If you like song and dance numbers, you won’t be disappointed - they’re very well done. But the story line addresses raw emotions that we don’t see often on network TV. One of those is death.
Here is a quote that really struck me:
“Death is hideous, and ugly, and grotesque, and wildly, wildly unfair. Or…
maybe death is beautiful, and spiritual, and transcendent, and sometimes a very necessary, and very freeing, escape from our physical bodies when they are no longer habitable.”
Or maybe it’s both.
I lost both of my parents in the span of four months just over a year ago. The last several weeks of each of their lives was not pleasant for them. Ironically, though they did not live in the same state and had not been married for many years, they were physically suffering in similar ways. Thankfully, they were able to escape from their “no-longer-habitable” bodies.
So many families now are losing their loved ones without being able to hold their hands or see their faces as they pass. I can’t begin to imagine how much additional pain that the family must feel! And for the victim, to die in isolation. 😢 I’m so very grateful that I had the opportunity to say good-bye to each of my parents.
Mom was living here with us, and Dad was in Indiana, with his second wife, whom I am proud to call my stepmother. I played for 3 funerals in the span of those four months, two for mom - one at a funeral home in our hometown, and the other a celebration of life service at our church in Kansas City. For Dad, I went back to Indiana to play a memorial service in my home town church.
I feel fortunate to be a musician, which allowed me to not only choose the music (except for some good input about Dad’s wishes from his wife) but also play that music in memory and celebration of both of my parents, and more significantly, for those who loved them. To play for any funeral or memorial is a privilege. Even if I do not personally know the deceased or their families, I am honored to have the opportunity to create something, just something, that might help assuage the pain of those who mourn.
So this Mother’s day, I share a little arrangement that I found amongst Mom’s things after she passed. It was still in manuscript, and quite short, and when I played through it, I thought, “Shouldn’t this be in a minor key?” The spiritual that I knew was definitely in a minor key. So I decided to add to her arrangement. I wrote one verse in the original minor, and then fashioned a transition to her major part. I added a nice cadence at the end, so there it is.
After playing through “our” little piece several times, I just had to smile. For most of her life, Mom was such a happy person, and her writing this minor spiritual in a in a major key is, well, just so her.
So today on this Mother’s Day, and every other day, honor your mother, whether she is with you on this earth or not. I’m so fortunate that I have little bits of my mom like this piece (and her many other compositions) to remind me how lucky I was, and am, to be her daughter.