My mom died New Year’s Eve when I was 19. We knew it was coming so that Advent as we sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” each night before dinner, I paid attention to the voices. I knew them so intimately- the tones and harmonies that our four voices made together. It was the sound of home and I ached to imagine how our singing would change with just three voices. So each night I zeroed in on the sound of my mom’s voice- desperate to not let it be forgotten. Memorizing deep within, in hopes that whenever I sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” that I would always hear her voice within it.
Twelve Advents have passed since then and we still light the candles and sing each night. This year Isaac (4) sings every word clear and strong. And Cedar (1) who is one has started calling out on the chorus “Rejoice, Rejoice!” I love hearing the sweet clear voice Isaac has and the way it is mingling with Erinn and mine. And I love hearing the joy and desire in Cedar’s new words and singing of the song he has heard again and again since utero. I am beginning to learn the sound of a new four voices. Ones that will go just as deep in my heart and that I will hold the same fear of it never feeling whole without all four voices.
I don’t hear my mom’s voice anymore when we sing and there is an ache in that, but there is new found delight and depth that travels on. And I trust that each night when we sing, my mom is singing with us and delighting in the sounds of my children.