I don’t know what I was expecting when my mom died. Maybe a trumpet sound? Maybe a world-wide moment of silence to acknowledge her death? I’m not exactly sure.
All I know is death is much quieter than I expected.
And this is why…
Everyone has a volume. Some of our voices are quiet; some are comfortably neutral; and some are really loud. The impact of our volume depends on the closeness and frequency of our connection, how our personality interacts with others, both for good and not so good.
When my mom was alive, her voice was deafening. She was opinionated and extremely vocal about her beliefs. She had the strongest, most iron-clad, you-ain’t-gonna-sway-me resolve that I’ve ever encountered. She rarely pondered aloud, and she handled even casual discourse as serious debate. Being more sensitive, most of the time growing up I’d rather go into hiding than be swallowed alive in a conversation. So, I turned down the volume on my mom, and I stopped listening to her voice. I didn’t ask any questions. Sadly, I wasn’t even curious.
My generation touts open-mindedness as the opposite of ignorance and prejudice. We hold it as a trophy of collective growth and development. But, maybe remaining open, just for the sake of being open, isn’t so evolved. Maybe blind openness is worse than ignorance; maybe it’s the cause of the world’s confusion and discourse. We, “the open-minded”, are very loud; but we’re equally unsure.
We leave Italy to wander the sea in search for another Rome.
I saw my mom’s personality as rigid and closed-minded. But now that she’s gone and I can’t hear her side of the argument, I’m questioning if I got her all wrong.
Maybe what I saw as closed-mindedness wasn’t that at all. Maybe it was confidence over the fact that she’d already found the answers to her questions; and I just hadn’t yet. Would I rather that she was quiet about her findings? Would I rather have a blindly open mother?
I muted my mom when she was alive because I mistook her abrasiveness for a lack of knowledge. When really, it was I who was lacking. By turning down the volume when she was here, I missed the twenty-three years of experience she had on me. And now with her gone now, I’m left to ponder her convictions without the benefit of asking her, “Why?”
I want to push the rewind button, so I can listen to her wisdom. But I can’t. I’ve lost my opportunity. And, unfortunately, I find my mom’s silence to be the loudest sound she’s ever made.
But this morning, as I thought seriously about what I’d ask my mom if she were still here, I realized that, like she did, I already know the answers to the major questions of origin, faith, and purpose. So, maybe I don’t really need my mom’s advice after all; maybe I’m just missing her and want to talk with her again. Maybe I just need to free myself to stand firmer in my own resolve.
Perhaps I’m already in Rome.