Panayiota (Jan. 26, 1931 - Mar. 31, 1999) Her long form English name was Patricia. Canadians called her Pat; it was Mrs. Savich, to the younger ones that loved her. Her long form Greek name was Panayiota, and Pota for short.
She was an enthusiastic ball of affection, who took no guff from anyone, and had arms wide enough for everyone. She was devoted, passionate, feisty and above all, loving. She rode a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows most of her life, always (and unnecessarily), apologizing for this sweet and precious aspect of her humanity.
She was simply, beautiful. On her tomb stone it reads, "Compassionate, Beautiful, Indomitable Soul".
She would have been 84 this year had she miraculously survived ALS. In 2 months, it will be the 16th anniversary of her death. And like every year, donating to ALS groups and to pALS is what I do to honour her memory. I've blogged about this disease extensively.
This year, I wanted to do something a bit different. I wanted to share with you, my family and friends, (and perhaps strangers that wandered on to this blog), songs that I had written almost 2 decades ago while mom was dying.
Grief brings out the most creative impulses. Actually, writing these songs was therapy for me at that time. Music heals in profound ways, and writing these songs was a way I desperately tried to come to terms with her dying process. At that time, I was losing the most incredible, loving and sweetest woman I had ever known.
I wrote over 30 songs, 3 of which were recorded. It wasn't done professionally or anything. After all, it was me playing the synthesizer/piano; definitely very amateurish. The recordings are kind of scratchy. However, I was very, very lucky to get Gail Jenne, an exquisite Bulkley Valley songstress, to sing these songs. Her daughter Taisa provided some of the harmonies. I am indebted to them. Thank you Gail and Taisa.
This is a song I wrote, questioning the topic of death. When was I suppose to hold on? When was I suppose to let go?
Here are the words: Questions
2. An Angel Sat Down On My Bed
This is a song I wrote to comfort myself. I wanted to believe that while mom journeyed toward death, she would find great comfort.
Here are the words: An Angel Sat Down On My Bed
This is a song I wrote when I knew that mom and I would have to part ways soon.
Here are the words: Goodbye
I don't know how it works in the afterlife or if there even is one. Some people claim that they know. I don't. However, I do know that our Spirit is eternal and I know that right in this present moment, mom lives in my heart, and that too, is eternal.
I love you.
EDITED TO ADD (Jan. 31/15):
Thank you so much for your responses to this blog, whether to me personally, or directly on this blog. I'm blown away by your responses. Much, much gratitude.
Take a listen. I can actually feel my heart opening wider and wider and wider as more and more harmonies enter the song. Beautiful! Thanks Paul. (You can click on the link above to hear it, or down below, where it's easier to see it).
Peter Savich is my brother, and he wrote a most moving tribute to mom 4 days after she died. It is called, In Loving Memory of a Singular Woman. And as I read it now again, after so long, I am filled with amazement at his raw honesty during a very challenging time in his life. I am also filled with gratitude for his gift to his "church", and wanting to memorialize mom through gifting to the most important aspects of his life: family and friends. Thanks Pete.
EDITED TO ADD (Feb. 1/15)
Thanks also goes to Richard Jenne who recorded these 3 songs and compiled the instrumentation and vocals.