We sit on the wall at the door of the closing bar, slowly sipping the rest of the wine. She's from a Europe so cold that if you walk northward just a little bit more you'll be going south. The cultural differences on sharing one's pain, that's what we talk about. Here, pain, illnesses and suffering are favorite themes, mainly because they are thought to be alleviated, soothed by talking.
There, she says, on the contrary, speaking about your pain is seen as burdening the other with it, who has, as we all do, his own crux to bear. So one doesn't do it, to spare the other, who is grateful for it. While here, keeping your pain to yourself is considered a cruel thing, like cutting the other out of your life, not letting them in.
She speaks about her mother, who hid her illness until the very last, and then called her. Of the few but beautiful days they shared. Of how, in the last moments when the mother didn't respond anymore, the daughter suddenly found herself singing all the songs the mother had sung to her since she'd been a baby, the lullabies and the washing songs, the walking songs, the berry-picking songs. All the songs of her childhood poured out of her, the lyrics she hadn't even known she remembered, accompanying death as they had new life, and still will, and still do.