My mum the pianist

14 May

Growing up, every child believes their mum can do anything.  In my case, I think I was probably right.

My mum COULD pretty much do anything. Cooking, sewing, gardening, decorating, and of course her music.  And not only could she turn her hand to all these things, but she was sickeningly good at them too.  But like most highly capable, talented people, she never really knew how good she was.  Always driven to do more, and better.

Nowhere was she more driven than in her music. Music was simply within her. It was in her soul. Mum was sensitive, caring, emotional , but you rarely saw tears. She was strong. But when it came to her music, it seemed to whip up a storm in her, feelings so intense that for once something else was in control.  She always played from memory. To her, reading from a score simply interfered with the union between her and the music.

Mummy frequently expressed regret at not having been able to make her music her career. She had wobbles of confidence, comparing her lack of professional training to that of her fellow musicians. I would always say to her- rather a few bum notes, a flourish unfitting to the period, than a lack of emotion. And no one could ever have accused her of that.

Such was my mother’s strength, determination and commitment to her music that the day after her devastating cancer diagnosis she went ahead with a concert at The Royal Physical Laboratory in Teddington.  I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever heard my mother play like she did on that day.  She threw herself into it with everything she had, body and soul laid bare with a passion so raw, intense, honest.  To me, that was what music was all about, what my mother lived for, and I will never forget it.

This is an edited version of  my tribute to my mum that I read with pride at her memorial. Music was something that we were able to share, and I am lucky enough to have inherited just a little of her ability.

P.S Big Milk has just seen this picture over my shoulder as I write and made me promise to mention Grandma’s game of putting rubber gloves on her head and pretending to sneeze so that they would fall off. All the grandchildren loved that game and would shriek with delight  shouting “more, more!”  It has nothing at all to do with my post of course, but a promise is a promise, and I will do anything to keep the memories of his darling grandma alive.

14 Responses to “My mum the pianist”

  1. Cee Martinez May 14, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    Your mother sounds like a beautiful, beautiful woman. What a touching tribute. ❤

  2. Lucy May 14, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    A beautifully written piece as ever and lovely tribute – sure it must’ve been very hard to read at her funeral but you’ve done her very proud. Also what a stunning photo!
    Love the rubber glove story – might have to try it 😉 xx

  3. TheBoyandMe May 14, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    A beautiful tribute to your mother: they are so self deprecating they never realise how good they are at everything, most of all being mums. That is a stunning photo of your mum, it’s lovely to see such a glamorous photo. Keep the stories coming and the memories alive.

  4. rozzibee May 14, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    That is such a lovely tribute to your mum. She looks so beautiful in that picture x

  5. Anne May 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    What a beautiful memory and tribute to her!! You must be very proud of your mum and too right you are, what a talented and versatile women she was! Keep your memories flowing and your boys will always remember her. Axx
    ps. The rubber glove trick sounds so funny and Henry would have loved it too, he’s obsessed with rubber gloves for reasons we don’t understand 🙂

  6. Tickled Pink May 14, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    What a beautiful tribute to what sounds like a remarkable and loving woman.
    My Mum died from cancer just over two years ago and I remember the pain as if it were yesterday. You never get used to the fact that they are gone, you just become more able to cope with it. There are times when I desperately wish I could talk to her again, just to hear her voice and it breaks my heart that I can’t and that she will miss out on Little Pink growing up. But then I remember the lovely times we had together and they put a smile back on my face. Stay strong.
    Sending much love to you and your family. xxxxx

  7. Sarah May 14, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    Oh wow! Absolutely beautiful! Such a lovely tribute to your mother. What a woman! It sounds like her spirit is strong with you and her grandchildren x thank you for sharing. So inspiring.

  8. TheMadHouse May 14, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Your mum sounds like an amazing woman, not that it comes as much of a surprise to me, as you are a strong and wonderful woman too.

  9. susie@newdaynewlesson May 15, 2011 at 3:08 am #

    Beautiful tribute hun.

  10. bsouth May 16, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    Beautifully said. I wish I’d seen her play. xxx

  11. Trish @ Mum's Gone to May 20, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    I remember reading your post when you said your mum had been diagnosed with cancer and hadn’t kept up to speed with things. I’m so sorry to learn that she died. It’s not been long since my dad passed away (February) so I feel your pain and I also feel your pride in the parent who meant so much to you.
    I hope you keep strong.
    Best wishes and my deepest sympathy
    Trish x

  12. janeblackmore May 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    Your mum sounds amazing.

    stay strong lovely x

  13. Miss Jacq June 10, 2011 at 12:33 am #

    I’m juist catching up on your blogs. This is such a beautiful tribute to your mum and fantastically written. Your mum looks both glamorous and stunning in this picture. I’m always thinking of you (in a non stalkerish kind of way) and I hope you are coping as well as can be. X


  1. I am grateful « - June 9, 2011

    […] am grateful for that music. That when I listen to it I can feel connected to her in a way that is indescribably […]

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