Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Harroween!

Trick..or Treat? I'll let you decide! Well, it seems this holiday isn't totally lost on the Japanese! I happened upon what appears to have been a pumpkin carving contest at Dejima Wharf in Nagasaki City, or is that really my date for the weekend...hmm...so what's the REAL story here??? I'll let you use your imagination, since I'm not one to kiss 'n' tell :)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Amazing Grace

Well, there's no easier way for me to say this then to just say it. After battling (and I mean battling) cancer for about a year and a half, my Mom finally closed her eyes one last time and "went home" on October 3. During those last difficult days before her passing I had been working on getting myself out of Japan and back to South Florida, and although I was not able to be physically there with her then, I know she felt the love of all the people who were able to be there. Thank you if you were one of them. Knowing that you were there, holding her hand, telling her stories, smuggling in chocolate, bringing her flowers, (even taking care of the wildly spirited Gretchen for Dad!) knowing that you were simply THERE was a great comfort to me, half a world away. As most of you know, I was home for a little while, and during that time I tried to collect as many hugs as possible, since the Japanese are pretty "hands off." If anyone can figure out how to email or snail mail hugs to me here in Japan, please do! At both the visitation and the funeral I was so touched by how many people from so many different aspects of our lives were there to show their support. Thank you if you were there - there's something to be said about "strength in numbers" I think...And, speaking of the funeral, I don't know if I'll ever be able to hear "Amazing Grace" again without a stash of tissues close at hand.
So here I sit, halfway around the world again, surrounded by a people, a landscape, a culture still so foreign to me, yet, on the edges of my horizon, I feel Mom's strength, the warmth of her pride and love for me, and I know, somehow, we're all going to make it through this...
I hope you smile at the photo I chose - it's one of my favorites. I believe (and Papa san will correct me if I'm wrong) that it is at Chapman Falls, where he proposed to her once back in (well, whenever you proposed the first time) and then again - with a huge, gaudy ring from consignment shop - when we took our last family trip during the summer of 2004. I'm really glad she said "yes"...