Saturday, January 1, 2011

For Auld Lang Syne

It is a new year. The last time a new year dawned, Hudson was with us.

It is 2011. The last year Hudson was with us was 2010.

Yesterday, I would say, “Our daughter died earlier this year.” Now, I will say, “Our daughter died last year.”

Given all that, I’m not really sorry that I was too exhausted from jet lag to stay up and ring in the new year. Better not to be a witness to the passing of the last year we had our girl with us, I think.

And how to greet a new year in these circumstances? As I posted on Facebook yesterday, surely this year has to be better than the last. It seems there can be nowhere to go but up. And yet I feel the need to knock wood when I say that. After all, I never dreamed that what happened to us last year (really, HOW can it be “last year” already?) could happen to us after all we’d both been through already. It seems as if it would be tempting fate to be so confident in the future ever again.

As I pondered what it would mean for us to leave behind our last year with Hudson, all I could think about was a very old and haunting version of a New Year’s tradition. Auld Lang Syne, often sung on New Year’s Eve and day, is usually a high-spirited tribute to the importance of remembering old friendships (think of the final scene in It’s a Wonderful Life). But the Dave Francis/Mairi Campbell version of the original old song by James Burns from 1788 (which you may have heard in the Sex and the City movie) better captures the exquisite mix of sorrow and joy that comes with the passing of time, of days, of years, of relationships, of loved ones: the sorrow of longing for times past and for those we loved so much, and yet also the joy of the memories of those days and those beloved ones that live on always in our hearts. I did not stay up to ring in the new year without my girl, but if I had, I would have done so with this song—the very definition of our lives in this new year without Hudson is the terrible sorrow of missing her mixed with the tremendous joy of the memories of the days we had with her.

I was not familiar with the history of the song—it is based on a very old traditional song, maybe first captured in a poem from 1711. These verses from that poem particularly touched me when I read them:

My Heart is ravisht with delight,
when thee I think upon;
All Grief and Sorrow takes the flight,
and speedily is gone.

The bright resemblance of thy Face,
so fills this Heart of mine;
That Force nor Fate can me displease,
for Old long syne.

And then there’s these two verses from the 1788 version from Burns (these are from an English translation of the Scottish version, which you’ll hear below):

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

Here is the Francis/Campbell version of Auld Lang Syne, along with one of my very favorite photos of Hudson.

Oh, my dear girl. This bright resemblance of thy face so fills this heart of mine.

Happy New Year, sweet Hudson. So many more years to turn without you, so many more weary feet to wander, so many more seas to divide us from the time we last saw you. But we will always remember with joy the days we had with you.

For Auld Lang Syne.  For Hudson.


  1. Exquisite, Mandy. This 'old soul' photo of Hudson suits.

    Wishing you and yours the happiest, healthiest, most trouble-free 2011 possible as you navigate mothering your second child and as we all continue to mourn and celebrate Hudson,

    With love,

  2. I love that picture of Hudson, and the accompanying music is haunting.


  3. Sweet, sweet girl.

    Love you mama.

  4. Thinking of Hudson, you and Ed, the Penguin, today and every day. Truly I do. Thank you for the holiday card, I think it's my favorite photo of Hudson. Wishing you continued strength and renewed sense of joy in the coming year. Much love. ~Lindsay

  5. Profoundly affecting. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  6. Mandy, I flew on New Years Night back to Asia from Europe where I spent Christmas with what is left of my family. I had to leave behind my mother, who is haunted by so many demons and the incredibly painful feeling of not being able to help. I left heartbroken and scared of being alone with all my sad thoughts on the thirteen hour flight. While sitting on the plane and flighing through the night, I thought of you and your husband and the pain you must feel on days like that and any other day...

    I am wishing you and your family the very best from the bottom of my heart. May the universe remember what an unholy pain it has given you to carry around and spare you any further tragedies. Enough is enough.

    Take care!

  7. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to feel temporally further away from your precious girl. By grace you will always keep her close in your heart. I wish you love and blessings in the coming year.

  8. When the card arrived with Hudson's gorgeous picture on it, Karen and I got lost in it. Tears of remembering, missing and longing streamed my heart. Happy New Year Hudson, mommy, daddy and penguin...Renee P.

  9. Beautiful song. Thinking of you, as always, Mandy, and hoping so much that 2011 brings with it healing and peace for you and for Ed.

  10. Beautiful song for a beautiful girl. A bright resemblance indeed xo

  11. Dear Mandy,

    I feel your pain in this post. I know as every new year arrives I feel I am further away from Savannah. It's like you want to stop the clock but you can't...and thats life!

    I truly hope 2011 brings with it a new soul for you to love and that your memories of Hudson will become more comorting to you. I still remember our first New Year without Savannah.....its terribly hard.

    Sending love in this message to you and hope for peace and joy in the new little life you are bringing into this world. He or She will ALWAYS have an angel watching over them in Hudson.
    Diana x

  12. how tired and sad you must be..what a beautiful song ..from an Irish girl..I say what a face..and what an Angel to come..the eyes..the she is missed...dear Hudson..