They say one can endure anything for a year. It’s been one year, maman.
It was today, last year. It was today, six hours ago. It was today ten minutes ago. It was today for all the past days and all the days to come. It was today, now, when you exhaled for the last time through your delicate lips and dissolved into nothing, into everything, into me. Through the same lips that had kissed me a million times. The same lips that were the gates to your thoughts. To your heart. The same lips that formed the words that the ladies sitting in the living room now eating cake, remember you by. She was an honest woman, they say. Always said what was on her mind, they say. Never behind anyone’s back but always to their faces, they say. One of them even declares that in this way, you should be a model to them all. This is how they remember you.
I, too remember. Except I spent so much of my life trying to un-hear most of what you said. Maybe because I wanted to believe that my life could be freer of pain than yours. What a dream!
What strikes me now is how little you said that last year.
Three days before you died, I sat next to your bed in the hospital room. After weeks of beeping and hissing and constant interruption by nurses and doctors and volunteers trying to save your life, at last, all was quiet and we were left with each other. Your gaze traveled with the sun, melting behind the distant mountains. Its golden light brushed your cheeks in amber. And in that space, in that light, in that inevitability, for the first and last time, I asked you if you wanted to say anything to me. Without taking your eyes off the sun, you said that you had said all you had to say. You said there was nothing left to say. And you were silent again.
But I wanted something more.
Then I asked you what you were thinking about and you replied, I’m just looking at the sun setting behind those mountains.
Lately I’ve been wondering if we do too much thinking and no enough looking.
But the hand and heart are always searching. Longing returns. Union beckons. And the two take turns leading this dance.
Ludovico Einandi. DNA from Una Mattina. 2012