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I Didn't Cry When My Mom Died

When my mom died, I did not have a chance to say goodbye. Anxiously I rushed home from teaching. When I arrived there, I could read on my siblings’ faces that my mom had closed her eyes forever. I felt empty, guilty, and worthless. How did my mom transition from a materialistic world into a spiritual one? I was told that my mother opened her eyes, quickly glared around the bedroom, and immediately shut them for the last time. I wasn’t there. What did my mom feel when she did not see me? Did I let her down one last time? These questions dwell in my heart every day. Visions of my mother follow me wherever I go. How could I possibly forget the tenderness and depth of her love? When I was a grown man, my mother once said, “Tu sei stato la prima cosa bella della mia vita!” “You have been the first beautiful thing of my life!” How could her love be so immense? How could I be so cold and refrain from returning it? Was I afraid? Did love overwhelm me? Yet, I vividly remember the day when my mom undressed both my brother and me for a quick wash in the bagnarola, a small portable bathtub. The sun was piercing through our living-dining-bed room. I couldn’t have been more than five years old and I remember looking at my younger brother with protective eyes. My brother and I were wet but felt warmth. My mom was soaping both of us with gentle strokes. I didn’t mind sharing the bagnarola and my mom’s strokes. My mother’s cheeks were radiant with joy and pride. I thought, “My mom is beautiful .” I felt it, but I didn’t say it. Will I bring this vision with me when I take my last breath? Will my mom finally hear what I felt? I know that my thoughts are full of love. Yet, my unspoken words fail to be heard. Will I say, “I love you!” and finally cry?

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