I didn’t cry for you when mom told me you had just died. I don’t cry in front of most people. It’s too much to give them of me.
My two brothers had.
I remember my older brother wailing something awful, eyes full of anguish while my younger brother’s eyes filled over, tears flowing down his cheeks like a runaway river in full flood.
Like you, I never showed anger nor did I ever show sadness. But I remember your smile and your silence. Such was I.
Three days later we drove the hour and half to your house in another town to collect your things and attend your funeral. You always felt a world away but you had always been close really.
There it sat, your house, small, non-descript, dull in color.
I recalled as we entered, me visiting you once all by myself staying for a weekend.
I had baked you a nice big chocolate cake because mom used to bake for you and I knew you missed it and I wanted you to smile and be happy because I knew deep down you were not.
I wandered the house slowly taking you in.
In the bathroom your razor still sat at the edge of the sink just waiting for you to come back to pick it up and use it.
The chair you once sat in, still with the noticeable impression from the gravity of your body filling it as you watched television.
My brothers started fighting over something of yours they wanted to keep for themselves. My mom began to complain loudly about something frivolous like she so often did.
There I stood in the middle of the living room. Lost. Thinking of you.
A soft light spilled through the living room window to fall on the wooden floor at my feet lighting upon the dust motes which filled the empty space.
I pictured you there. Like me. Lost . Forgotten while the world worked around you.
A deep welling up of painful pressure begin to rise in me, to think of you perhaps feeling you were not loved in your last years here on earth.
To think you perhaps felt alone in this world at the end of it all, your life coming to a close and no one there to send you off with a held hand, or a kiss or heartfelt word.
Then I silently begin to cry standing there.
I couldn’t have stopped if I had wanted to.
Then mom noticed and pulled me in close with a hug, my brothers turn to me and I didn’t care
For these tears were for you not me.
by Philip Wardlow 2017