Finding our sunshine

When my siblings and I were growing up, our mother always sang a song to ensure she loved us, treasured us and would always be with us.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey. You’ll never know dear how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.”

It became a routine, of sorts, at bedtime especially. It was just something we grew up with. That was just what Mom sang.

The intent was for us to know that no matter where we are, if we look at the sunset, if we look at the sunrise, we are somehow with her. She will always be with us, as long as we see the sun, the sun set, the sun rise. She is thinking of us, loving us.

As we grew up, we sometimes sang the song to ourselves as a self-soothing tactic when we needed it.

We kids sang it together occasionally, when we were together, if someone thought of it.

This week, marking the anniversary of my mom’s departure from this earth, I am thinking about that song even more. Yes, it’s been a long time since she’s been here and that’s OK. We have all moved on and we love the memories we have of our time together with a woman we dearly loved but couldn’t have very long.

This week, while marking the anniversary of a tragedy, also marks a major milestone for our family. This was the pivotal moment when the dynamics of our family shifted and we started a new path toward the people and family we would become. Please forgive me for admitting how I burst with pride, today, to see how these remarkable people rose from adversity and became who they are.

All that said . . . let’s go back to the song.

What I want to share this week is how Mom’s little love of a song has stuck with us.

A few years ago, I was unable to attend a family gathering at my sister’s house. Others in the brood were getting together but I couldn’t be there.

I imagined the infamously incredibly loud gathering taking place at Maria’s house nestled between Elgin and Raeville. I swear that even being in York, I could hear the booming noise of everyone talking over each other.

I have to admit, I was feeling sorry for myself because I just missed them all.

And then there was a text, with a video attached, coming from the crowd at Maria’s.

I watched as they went around the room and exclaimed greetings to me.

Then, I heard my sister, Kelly (the videographer), say, “Let’s sing the song.”

My niece, Brooke, somehow along the way learned to play the ukulele (I had no idea until that moment) and began to strum away (quite skillfully I might add).

And they began to sing.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey. You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.”

I watched and laughed and my eyes got moist with tears.

It was perfect.

We were my mother’s sunshine.

We are each other’s sunshine.

And no matter where we are or what this crazy life brings to all of us, that will never, ever change.

We are each other’s sunshine.

My hope, for us and all of you, is that we find our sunshine, treasure it and never let it go away, no matter what unbelievable things this world may hand us.

Because when it all comes down to it, that’s all we’ve really got.

 

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