There is nothing more awkward or beautiful as silence. You can hear it in a dramatic pause and the moments before an anticipated reveal. It’s in the seconds before a baby’s first breath and the baby’s first cry. Silence is a moment that some seek like a refuge from the day. In that moment, silence is like a treasure of gold; even the smallest flake is elegant and revered. There are moments when silence becomes an unwelcome part of life. In that moment, silence is deafening.
It had been five days since we brought my dad home from the hospital. The sun was starting to come up and the air was cold and crisp from the fall night. It was early in the morning and the entire house seemed silent. All of our families were there for the night so why did our house filled to the brim with bodies, hold no sound. I laid in bed just listening. The silence was deafening, I strained to hear whatever noise I could and then fear filled my heart. Why was it so quiet and still? There was a knock on my bedroom door. It was my brother, he asked that I come and check dad. The look on his face, told me everything. When I came downstairs and walked up to my dad’s bed, I recognized the look on his face and the color of his skin. I reached for his hand it was still warm but at the same time, cold to touch. I looked at his chest and then reached for his pulse, nothing. I drew my head to his chest, nothing. He was gone. For a moment, I looked up at my brother and we just looked at one another, no words. It was now my job to get wake everyone up and tell them. I started with mom. The silence was now broken by the sound of tears.
For weeks, our lives felt upside down and it was extremely difficult for all of us. There was paperwork that needed tending and things to discuss, things that I wished dad was there to help with. In those weeks, I had little time to grieve. So, when I returned home I expected to just let go and cry but I didn’t. It seemed that I was going through some other grieving process where I skipped the painful crying part. Until one day, while at home with the kids, the house fell silent. There was no noise. In that moment, the silence was deafening! My ears began to hurt, almost like they were ringing. Then something inside of me broke and I began to cry. I realized that I wouldn’t hear my dad’s voice again or hear his silly jokes, like when he used to fart in the room and blame it on the dog who died so many years ago. I wouldn’t be able to hear him blow his nose in that annoying, loud and disgusting way where you thought that maybe there was an elephant in the room, blowing his trunk. I wouldn’t be able to hear him say, “Love you Anak” which means “daughter” in Tagalog.
I have never really felt that kind of silence before, I have lost other relatives and friends but nothing compares to losing your mom or dad. This silence is irreversible and although I have no regrets, I still wish I could tell him and hear “I love you” one more time.