Natalie Merchant is my favorite musician. Ever. Her songs navigate the waters of love, desperation, dreams, memory and justice like no other. Which is why I love her song “Kind and Generous” so much.
– You’ve been so kind and generous, I don’t know how you keep on giving
For your kindness I’m in debt to you
For your selflessness, my admiration
For everything you’ve done, you know I’m bound, I’m bound to
thank you for it….
There are many people in my own life that I think of when I hear this song. One in particular stands out: my Mum-Mum, Edna Mae Knorr. She died in May of 2009, and enriched my life in ways I am still discovering. Irish Catholic to the core, Mother of 7, Grandmother of 18, and Great-Grandmother of around 31 or 32 (I have lost count) and Great-great grandmother of one. The unique thing about Edna Mae, was that when you were in her presence, she made you feel like you were the most important person in the world. And to her, you were.
She was so full of love for everyone.
When I was four or five, I was shy. I remember how she would let me hide under a blanket and snuggle up to her – so that no one else knew I was there. I was safe with Edna Mae.
She was the best letter writer. Ever. Having lived overseas for the most part of the last 12 years, my Mum-Mum would write me a letter a week, without fail. When the weekly pouch from DHL would arrive at the office in Haiti, my colleagues would always joke that here is another letter from Mum-Mum for Amy. She told me news of the family, with whom she was playing bridge, and always how much she loved me. When my dog Buddy was hit by a car and killed, she wrote immediately and told me how she cried when she heard the news. Towards the last three or four years of her life, her arthritis precluded her from writing as much. I got better about calling, so we talked on the phone from wherever on earth I happened to be living at the time.
The last time I saw her before she died, I had just graduated from my MA program at Eastern Mennonite University. As soon as I came into her room and sitting area – she had a card and a bag for me. In it was her St. Mary of the Mount blanket, which she always had on her favorite chair. St. Mary of the Mount was where my Mum-Mum was baptized, went to grade and high school and where she later married my Pup-Pup. The blue blanket had drawings of the church as it had changed over the last hundred years. While I am no longer shy, I still crawl up under that blanket today, feel more secure, and wish that she were still here with me today.
Oh, I want to thank you for so many gifts you gave with love and tenderness,
I wanna thank you
I want to thank you for your generosity, the love and the honesty that you gave me
I want to thank you, show my gratitude, my love and my respect for you,
I wanna thank you
Oh I want to thank you, thank you, thank you,
thank you, thank you, thank you…