July 8th, 2014
I would like to thank you all for your condolences, empathy, love, and support. I am overwhelmed and inspired by the thoughtful kindness that I have witnessed in the following days by all of you. It is what gives me hope for the future and that which has kept me afloat in the moments where I feel as though I am drowning in despair.
As much as I feel like coping with my pain privately, and feel pretty adverse to social media at this time-- I felt compelled after today to share a little bit of my experience.
Today we got to say our farewells. Days leading up to it I could not decide if I could bear witnessing my mother's body without her soul still present. There would be no undoing of either decision I made and I started to gather opinions of my family and closest friends. The results that I got were 50/50 and every reason made sense. There was no right or wrong in this. I decided that I would decide when the moment presented itself to me.
When we arrived at the mortuary we were led to the small chapel room. My heart raced and when the door opened and I saw the light shining on my mother's hair, I nearly collapsed. Karina grabbed me and held me in the hallway while the rest of the family went in. I couldn't do it. I heard cries from the room and I felt like I needed to be with our family. We entered and stayed in the back of the room. I sobbed as I watched Nimai cry and Asami and Okasan courageously preparing and decorating her with flowers while tears streamed down their faces. Karina looked at me and said that she would step outside of her box for me. That if I was going to see her, she would too. My world was collapsing on me. I needed to uncover my eyes, and grip reality. How could I not be there for my mother's body? How could I not stand by the rest of my family and not help them? It was her body. It was the vessel of my beloved mother and I did not want to fear it or reject it.
I saw her. I looked at her. I cried. I touched her. I kissed her. I talked to her. I got my confirmation. I got the confirmation I needed to accept that her soul was no longer in this material body. I felt that I would never be able to heal properly if I could not embrace death. I don't want to continue my life being sheltered and disconnected from something that is real and inevitable for all of us. I put my hand over her heart and I felt that she left me... all of us... with an ineffable life force. I looked around me, at her children to whom she gave birth to, her sister who helped to raise her when their mother passed... and I could see her in all of us. I thought about how she told me in the recent months that you never experience the kind of falling in love like you do when you fall in love with your children. And in that moment, I loved them all that much more too. My heart ached with so much love. So much gratitude.
My mother has touched the lives of so many. She was well respected, humble, and kind. Her life was dedicated to working hard so that her children could have a place to always call home. Her life dramatically changed from being very active to almost complete solitude when her health declined. She never wanted to be a burden, and never wanted sympathy. Despite her suffering I am so grateful that in her last decade we got to experience a deeper connection and relationship with our mother. She went from being a strong, independent, hard working mother to my becoming soft, expressive, and open. She became my best friend and I shared everything with her. We got rid of the parent-child filter and shared our deepest thoughts and feelings. I got to speak with her almost everyday and learn from her wisdom. I got to experience a closeness most people never get to have with their parents. She did so much to help us while she was here. She did everything she could do to fuel our motivation, hopes, and dreams. Whatever our interests or pursuits-- she would educated herself on it and do everything in her power to guide and motivate us to achieving it. She lived through us. She expressed how important it is to live a life that truly made us happy, and in order to enjoy our happiness we had to be healthy to do so. Our health is our greatest wealth. Love unconditionally.
I feel that she is still doing the same for us even now. I can feel her conspiring with the Universe to guide us, because from where she is now-- she is that much more powerful.