When I was ten years old, my father took the family to London, England for ten days on his business trip. It was my first time to visit another country, and I was naturally very excited.
Most days, my father was busy with his work, and my mother took me to different places during the day. Having lived in the country for several years before I was born, my mother was eager to show me around as many interesting places in London as possible.
One day, she took me to the famous Westminster Abbey. It was just before the Easter, and the choir was practicing the music for the mass. My mother was very fond of the choir culture of the country from the time she lived there, and wanted me to experience it as well.
The Westminster Abbey was incredibly tall and very dark inside. I looked around curiously as we walked inside the cathedral. The choir practice was already going on, and I could hear the singing and the sound of the pipe organ from the centre. There were many chairs next to the choir for people to sit and listen. My mother led me to the chairs, and we both sat down.
I was (and still am) a great fan of baroque music, and I used to enjoy listening to many pieces from the era on radio or on CD. However, the music I heard that day was extremely sorrowful, and it soon started to have an impact on me. I started to feel a void inside of me, and soon I was thinking of death.
The death that occupied my mind was not my brother’s death, or my own death. It was my mother’s death. Sitting next to my mother, I suddenly thought of the day when she would be gone, and I would be feeling the pain of not having her. In my mind, I was standing in my parents’ house, looking into the gap behind the dish cabinet, haunted by the overwhelming sense of emptiness.
I tried to distract myself from this thought, but wherever I looked, it was dark, and the room was filled with the sorrowful music. There was no way to escape.
I sat still on my chair, trying to decide if I could tolerate this feeling for another hour. No, I couldn’t.
I pulled at my mother.
“I want to go out.”
My mother was so disappointed that I wanted to leave so early. This was such a rare opportunity for me to listen to a traditional choir music. I understood that, but I still needed to go out. My mother reluctantly agreed, and we both left from the backdoor.
When asked for the reason why I wanted to leave so badly, I just explained that I was scared because both the music and the cathedral were dark. I never told my mother that I was actually thinking of her death.