I'd like to thank everyone who gave so much love and support in the days after my mother died this month. She's given my family signs that she is still around, and a call from a cousin yesterday seemed to provide words my mother would want me to hear. My cousin hadn't spoken to my mother in a long time, and in asking about her latest years, wondered if my mother's voice had grown weak with age or whether sh still spoke in "that beautiful resonant low voice" that my cousin remembered. My mother whispered her final words but up to that point, did in fact have much the same voice as she did in her youth.
When my husband met her, he asked if her voice was always as low as it was at that point, and while I had never considered her voice separately from the whole elegant, stately package, I said yes. In retrospect, the voice may have seemed low for her body but it suited her demeanor and never seemed out of place. It wasn't a sultry low; it was a New York-accented no-nonsense low. If she was elegant and stately it was a lucky accident, but she was intentionally no-nonsense.
I had a sudden understanding of why I am drawn to exploring the lows of songs rather than the highs, even though I'm told higher is where I should be - I grew up fondly hearing a low voice. My cousin's bringing to my attention the longevity of my mother's strong voice seemed like an assurance from my mother of many more decades of singing ahead of me and to continue challenging my voice in my own, often unconventional, way. Thank you for that and indescribably much more.