I would never know how much I appreciate having my mom as an indispensable part of my life. I would never know how much paper, how much ink or how many words I need to express what she has done for me and how much I love her. Though I never confessed “I love you” to my mother even once in my life even when I can’t count how many times I have said that thing to the boys I liked. Not even once before I and she departed.

In Asia, we don’t have that habit of saying “I love you” dearly to your beloved, especially when it comes to your beloved. However, it’s not quite right. Sometimes, when I called her from the strange city I was in, I anxiously added the “iu mẹ” in to my goodbye sentence. “Iu me” – awkward enough to be thought to be true. “Iu me“, when you speak that Vietnamese word, your throat only let a small amount of air from your lungs to pass by, just like my whole body coming into the tiny humble shape when I was about to express the biggest love I have for the most important person in my life.

My mind quickly flashed back to the day in the airport. It was a rough way that day, that period of life from the very beginning to the airport. Raining. Rain following rain, adding the weight to the souls already soaked with sorrow. We were departing. Incessant rain.

I feel happy whenever I look back to my departure and the 2 weeks in the hotel after. That was the first time she gave me such a long hug that I wished would last forever. That was the first time my mother used the phone and texted me: “Thuong con gai yeu cua me nhieu“. I cried reading the text. The love, the loneliness surrounded me at the same time, the air of Victoria tasted bittersweet, the lullaby mixed with the sound of raindrops sang me to sleep in the new city.

Living among the Asian stereotypes against women of being secondary to men, my mom is… the breadwinner of the whole family. How brave she is. My never being supportive, my mom is all I got for motivation and inspiration. Sometimes, I wonder where her strength comes from. Sometimes, I wonder what I have learned from my respectful mother. And why I failed to be a tiny miniature of her noble characters. In that very moment of wondering, I’m glad to learn a lesson about life. That there are still people around the world fighting and making history without wanting monuments for themselves. Like my mother, like many other mothers. The carve of rock will fade away with the wind, the rain, with time. But that what’s carved in the heart stays eternal.

Me, people here, they say “I love you” on a daily basis, but I doubt if they really mean it. Me, maybe not everything Western is good like people often say. I would rather keep the “I love you” for myself, say it maybe once in a lifetime with the people I hold most dear than giving out the words to people everyday without holding in for myself a thought about them. Above all, you teach me that, Me.