Joni (and Flowers)

Do you remember that quote from Emma Thompson’s character in “Love Actually”? She said: “Joni Mitchell thought your cold English wife how to feel.”

Yesterday my Grandmother died. She has been sick with cancer for some time. Although she was
eighty-seven she had a strong heart, and could easily have lived for ten more years. I don’t think she was ready to die, but cancer is a cruel decease. It doesn’t ask before it takes.

We were never very close my Grandma and me, and the distance grew bigger when I moved abroad. The last time I saw her was on Christmas Eve when we went to the hospital to visit her. We brought her flowers, and she was moved to tears. So were my brother, my parents and I.

It’s always sad to lose a family member, but when my mother called me yesterday (in tears obviously) I couldn’t (to my surprise) feel anything. It was not a shock (we knew). She was old (it is normal).

Later I started tidying the apartment, and put my iPod on. I always have quite a lot of Joni on there, I like having her around. Soon I was crying my heart out. It started to dawn on me that I would never see my Grandma again. Death is so dark, and so sad. We have no choice but to accept it, and deal with it when it comes. It can come into your life at any time.

I didn’t know to what point Joni Mitchell is able to connect me with my your own feelings. Listening to her is a physical experience. Grieving a family member in her company made me realize that she too is a family member. Her music is so close to home for me, and I cherish her even more now that I  know that. Often, listening to her is like looking oneself in the mirror. I think that’s part of her appeal. When you don’t understand yourself, she helps you understand.

Rest in peace Grandma, and thanks for everything…


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