My mom and I never got along. Not a bit. She wanted me to be a nurse like her, I became an artist. She wanted me on the cheerleading squad, I did makeup and props for the local Haunted House. She wanted me to take foreign languages, I took sculpture. She took me to gospel and country concerts, I had albums by Punk bands. We didn't see eye to eye, and we got into some very big clawing-at-the-eyes spats.
I left home at 17, started college, married and had a baby. Tragically, our little girl died of SIDS just before Christmas that same year... also just before my 18th birthday.
The funeral came on December 27th. The organist cancelled the night before the funeral. We brought in records of all the songs from Mom's gospel record collection, so the preacher would play them since there was no organist. My brothers cried at the funeral, my dad did, my husband and I did, my friends did... but my mom didn't. "Typical," I thought. Mom grew up in a cold, loveless home where it was made clear to her from day one that she was an "accident," and I figured she wasn't capable of knowing how to love.
Well, we got to Amazing Grace, and we had forgotten it on the records... there was no music. The preacher asked everyone to open the hymnal to the right page, and asked that someone please lead us in singing the song. Well, of course, who wanted to begin singing a-capella in the middle of a large congregation? We all waited.
There was a big pause.
Then from behind me I heard her voice... it was my mom. I looked back to see the big tears rolling down her face as she began, "A-a-mazing grace, how sweet the sound..."