... and her voice turned to tears.


tis a grey spring day in yyz and things are finally slowing down- which often means letting one's own guard down; when things are busy, often i cannot afford time to be emotional (in name of efficiency).  so with extra time within the day, i dwell, rethink and formulate those feelings that may have been caged in for a bit.

on 16 april 2014, a korean ship sank into the brutal water.  there are many speculations how the situation couldve been handled, but at the end, 23 days later, there are still over thirty people missing. undercurrent speed reaching up to 4m/s, divers are trying to find the bodies through 'feeling things through,' as visibility is poor.

following the news update daily, i tried to not look into it as much as i can, as month of april was still rolling on full-steam.

i eyed 26th and tightened mentally, the day of my younger brother's death, now four years ago.

on 01 may, i completed a particularly difficult recital project and headed to hear mahler 9th with toronto symphony with sir andrew davis.

then it hit me full steam.

kindertotenlieder's text is written by friedrich ruckert in 1833-34, as the poet lost two his his children to scarlet fever. mahler worked on kindertotenlider, 1901-04; in 1907, little maria mahler died with scarlet fever; later in the year, the man himself was diagnosed with a heart defect.  as he work on the 9th symphony, 1909, the little daughter who he buried in his heart grew, grew so dearly and mahler's heart breaks.  in 1910, mahler starts to wind down, his heart beating weaker and weaker, till the day it stops, on 18 may 1911.

mahler 9th is his last completed work.  a man who may have known his end is near, perhaps from his gifted neuroticism.  starting with andante comodo, perhaps the man is leaving the world behind- after life-filled second and third movement, we get to the last movement- zuruckhaltened (very slow and held back)- with heart-wrenching quotation from the kindertotenlieder- man with bursting heart, returning to his daughter, good bye, world.

four years ago, 27 april, day after the crash, i met gabe for the last time in the coroner's office.  he was broken.  he looked like himself. but then, he didnt look anything like himself.  when i looked into his eyes and found nothing back, i realized he's left us.

all these school children in the boat, who sank deeply under the sea, some of them are still missing. perhaps missing forever.  their parents are waiting. friends. the world.


'...they have only just gone out
and now they will be coming back home.
the day is fine, don't be dismayed,
they have just gone for a long walk...'
(from 'oft denk'ich, sie sind nur ausgegangen')

'...in this weather, in this gale, in this windy storm,
they rest as if in their mother's house:
frightened by no storm,
sheltered by the hand of god.'
(from 'in diesem wetter', kindertotenlieder)

all these families, waiting for their child to return- but with the furious undercurrent and cold, freezing water, these kids may no longer retain any of their vitality, life, joy and hope.  may be few of them have gone out.  may be the lost ones are sheltered by the hand of god.

the mothers. children.
the brothers, sisters, friends.
the kids who would have been frighted to head out.
the waiting ones who are frightened, worried to tears that they never will get to hold their loved ones for the last time.  the children who may have wished peace and final good bye, said in deafening silence under the cold water and darkness: we love you- the weather is fair on the hills...  as is separated by a big sound-proof glass, the little ones desperately wanting to tell the living ones how much they love their family, the living wishing to see their loved ones one more time-

my mother did not get to see gabe for the last time, as i brought him in a little box, held tight by my heart.  but she's held him.  many mothers in this particular tragedy may never get to hold their loved ones.  meanwhile, the children quietly left the world, andante comodo.

i cried. oh i cried during that last movement.  the loses.  the pain.  soaring lines and glorious brass, low resonance of the strings. roaring storms.

today, i made a mistake on the phone.
my mother called me on the phone and i accidentally slipped my thoughts into the conversation.  mom. the lost children. i was thinking about them. i was thinking about how you never got to see gabe for the last time.  i can feel the pain of the mothers who are waiting by the shore, the ship crash.

her voice became tears.


oh life. life life life.
you are difficult and demanding.
you are painful and real.
how we learn to love- then to be torn apart.  only thing that's left is the hope of joining them later. in mother's house.

today, i listen to mahler 9th again, after turning my mother's voice into tears.  the pizzicatos, the harp. raining tears to the big ocean of human sorrow- only thing i can say is love.


endless love. the continuous passage of love.
and pining hearts.

*picture credit: http://media.daum.net/society/others/newsview?newsid=20140507180609061

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