29 July 2007

birth day

Thirty-five years ago today, at 2:03 pm, my mother... became a mother.

My father took me out to dinner last night, just the two of us, to an Italian restaurant with a view of Tokyo Tower and the traditional summer fireworks over Sumida River.* There, he told me a little bit about that day -- stories I'd forgotten or never knew. Well, we talked about a lot of things, but inevitably my mother's physical absence at the table grew harder and harder to bear, until I found myself able to do nothing but push around a whipped-cream-covered cherry from the birthday cake on my plate, and I finally burst out crying. (My father held it together, bless his heart!) This should have been our day together, the day we became a family, the three of us, and it just wasn't fair she wasn't there.

Actually, it was my dad's birthday on the 20th. And in two days, on the 31st, Mark and I will toast (on the webcam for now) our third wedding anniversary. So July has really shaped up to be the "circle of life" month.

Oh my. I had all sorts of eloquent thoughts about birth and death and life and such, but I've lost it. And obviously there is so so so much more to share, or at least so much going on, that I don't know how to put into words at all. Or how to reach out. How to even begin replying to the kind words that have been sent our way. (This is my official public apology for not writing back yet!) I guess this entry is kind of like breaking the ice. Slowly. I think somehow talking about it is like admitting it's true. And it's just too scary to actually really dwell on that reality for more than a flash at a time.

So for now, I'll return to the thought of this being the anniversary of the day my mother brought me into this world. (Yes Daddy, you get credit too, but you know what I mean.) And I'll reiterate some of what I said to her over and over that last night.

Mama. Arigato ne. Thank you.

I love you.

*Good thing they were yesterday, because today (appropriately) a monstrous thunderstorm has been lighting up the sky since 2pm -- almost nine hours now, and still going strong!

28 July 2007

06 July 2007

rage, rage against the dying of the light

i am at the end of the most intense 36 hours of my life. been up since waking up for breakfast on the plane, not knowing whether my mother had passed away while mark & i were somewhere over the pacific ocean. but when we made it to narita airport, and i called, she was still hanging on, and another LONG two hours later, we ran into the hospital, family friends waving us in from the sidewalk. and when i fell on my knees by her bed, she saw me, and gave me the most brilliant, unforgettable smile. but that's not all: she hung on for another 16 hours, defying the doctors' expectations by more than 10 fold -- and under the constant vigil of my father, mark, and two close family friends, spent a whole night and daybreak with me/us until her last labored breath at 8:01am Pacific Time. it was the most torturous and beautiful experience i've ever survived. she is truly a formidable, courageous woman, and i learned more from her in the last three days than i ever imagined possible.

and i know it would never have happened were it not for the powerful prayers from all continents, filling her spirit with the precious extra strength. so thank you, everybody. you know who you are.

thank you.

03 July 2007

my mother is dying. mark & i are flying back to japan on the first available flight. there is almost no hope of getting there in time.

the cancer had perforated her intestines and she developed an aggressive, fatal infection.

she is in the hopsital, with my father, at least.

thank you.