An Evening of A Cappella
A better way to say “I Love You”
I was sitting in a chair, upright. My surrounding was unremarkable. Just a basement with its usual dim lighting. I wasn’t paying attention to it anyway.
I was simply looking at my mother. She was lying down on a bed in front of me. She was looking at me as well. We didn’t speak for a while.
Breaking this silence, I started to sing. By myself, a solo A Cappella.
As I was singing, I watched my mom intently. Her gaze was fixed on me. She didn’t say a word.
I finished the song. There was a brief pause. Still no word from mother. Her gaze intensified.
I started singing a second song. By this time there was a mild quaver in my voice. My mother kept watching me. Not a word.
The second song finished. Without too much of a break, I started the third song. By now, I was finding it hard to keep in tune. My voice was not cooperating too well.
I thought I spied a drop of tear forming in my mother’s eye. I fought to hold back my own. A mental video started playing.
I could see mom busy in the kitchen, belting out a quick song while preparing lunch. Or it could be while dusting the sofa, cleaning the cobwebs, or running stitches on a sewing machine. No matter the chore, there would be a vocal accompaniment.
I could be reading a book, a magazine, playing a game, or just lazing around. Music would fill my ears constantly.
Those were the days. Carefree and Happy! Growing up, I had never realized how blessed I was that my mother’s singing filled my ears day in and day out.
I had not experienced it much after I left home. I have never heard people randomly singing at home, as they go about their business. My mom’s random choice of songs to belt out almost made it a sport to guess what’s coming next. I was an incidental beneficiary of her years of musical training.
Her love of music permeated me. I got into the habit of singing at home at all hours. I still do.
When news reached me about my mother’s mini-stroke, I didn’t know what it meant. I was simply happy that it was not a massive stroke. One mini-stroke followed another and they were starting to do what they normally do…hurt the brain.
We know time heals. Time sometimes hurts too. Especially when age creeps up on you. The strokes were relentless as time went on.
The barrage of mini-strokes crippled mom’s brain and she had lost her speech. As I was entertaining my mute mother that evening, however, no speech was needed. I had never felt a better connection with her. I was, after all, singing to her the very songs that connected us over the years.
I knew that she could hear me and her eyes told me what I wanted to hear. I could feel mom enjoying my singing, scrappy as it was.
I ended my mini-concert with her favorite song. I had heard her sing it the most. After that last song, I spoke softly to mom and left the room.
There was no more common music between us since. Mom passed away after just a few weeks.
But her music has stayed with me indelibly. My mini-concert was my farewell to my mother. A Good-Bye with no spoken words.
Sometimes I rue the fact that I had never uttered the words “I Love You!” to my mother. Ever. But I quickly remember that she had never done it to me either. We were never in need of it. Our actions were enough. Actions do speak louder than words.
I am confident our communication was loud and clear on that evening of A Cappella.