After a few decades of marriage, my mother lost her lifelong partner to terminal cancer.  Even though we knew the day was coming, no one in the family somehow expected it when it finally came.  

I was actually the only one in the room with him when he left this world.  There was no fanfare, no dramatic "Time of death" announcement ala Hollywood.  I'd run out into the hallway, looking for help, belatedly realizing it was useless.  

After my family arrived, mother spent a few minutes holding father's hand, stroking his cheek, smoothing his hair.  I remember frigidly refusing to touch him, not wanting to let my fingers feel what I could see, the lack of life and continuation of breath.  I could not, would not associate that wax like figure with the energetic man who raised me, taught me sports, and strong-armed his values into my head.  

In the aftermath, mother realized she had never said the words " I love you."

love poem

"I Love You" - original poem,  Style of Calligraphy: Standard 楷書 ( 楷书kǎishū)

English Translation

I Love You

 

In youth

Afraid to say

Too introverted too bashful

Thought it was not unique and a little tacky

As if being nauseating and transparent was simply funny 

Always not worth telling you

 

Year after year quickly passes

More and more familiar

Your voice and laughter

Your thoughts and feelings

Why say anything redundant

Always rather not tell you

 

Thought in this lifetime

Imagined our song would be endless without break

Singing and performing

The flute's song suddenly ends

Autumn sky fades to dusk

No time to see

That frozen sentence

In the end never spoken

Simplified Chinese

我爱你

 

年纪轻轻

不敢说

太内向太羞涩

以为不稀奇又俗气

岂将肉麻露骨当有趣

总是不屑告诉你

 

一年一年匆匆溜去

越来越熟悉

你的声音笑语

你的心思情意

何必说那些多余

总是不想告诉你

 

以为一辈子

是无休止符的乐曲

唱着奏着

笛音忽断

秋空乍暗

来不及望一眼

冰冻的那句话

终于没告诉你

Pinyin (Sound)

Wǒ ài nǐ

 

niánjì qīng qīng

bù gǎn shuō

tài nèixiàng tài xiūsè

yǐwéi bù xīqí yòu súqì

qǐ jiāng ròumá lùgǔ dāng yǒuqù

zǒng shì bùxiè gàosu nǐ

                                                

yī nián yī nián cōngcōng liū qù

yuè lái yuè shúxī

nǐ de shēngyīn xiàoyǔ

nǐ de xīnsī qíngyì

hébì shuō nàxiē duōyú

zǒng shì bùxiǎng gàosu nǐ

 


yǐwéi yībèizi

shì wú xiūzhǐfú de yuèqǔ

chàngzhe zòuzhe

dí yīn hū duàn

qiūkōng zhà àn

láibují wàng yīyǎn

bīngdòng dì nà jù huà

zhōngyú méi gàosu nǐ

 

Love is not always easy.  It comes with peaks and valleys, joys and regrets.  Though sometimes it's unspoken, it lives on, beyond that last breath.