Sunday, 12 September 2010

My step-mum Jane.

Jane, my step-mum, died peacefully in bed at her home a few hours ago.
I woke up to an email from her sister telling family that the end was near, and then an hour later while I was weeding outside the front door with a cat, Yujiro called me upstairs where a new e-mail had just arrived with the news.
Funny. Because Jane was a Master Weeder. She could spend hours and hours in her garden making sure it looked beautiful.

Jane was the oldest daughter of a doctor. She was the oldest sister to 3 siblings. She was a family doctor, wife, step-mum, aunty, great-aunty and god-mother. She was a friend to many, many people. She loved the Church and did a lot of work in her community and for charities across the world. She loved gardening, sewing, cooking, antiques, skiing, horseriding, writing letters, dogs, historic homes, historical books, chocolate puddings...
She married my Dad when I was a toddler, she was actually my mother's doctor and just about brought me into the she has been IN my world for as long as I know.
She was a determined, practical, ultimately sensible person. Fix anything, carry anything, do anything. Knew how to keep my Dad on his toes. And out of the armchair.
She wanted to die at home. Two weeks ago she battled against doctors' and family advice to go home, got the two carers to care for her....and slipped away quietly while sleeping late Saturday night with the carers beside her and visits from her brother and sister just before.
It's the way we would ALL choose to go.

And so.
Here Yujiro has taken the day off work and he'll steer Okaasan to the hula event. We took her together yesterday to the rehearsal, it was a success...but she needed a LOT of guidance to get there with the right stuff, at the right time and place.
I'm not up to cooking lunch for Okaasan and steering her downtown again this afternoon.
I need a quiet day. Weeding would seem to be a good tribute to Jane.

Now I have no parents. All 4, mother and father, and both step-parents have now died.
I have no brothers and sisters.
My family is now this Japanese guy I met skiing, and his mother, our cats. Of course I'm part of Jane's huge family of siblings, nephews and nieces and all their's a strange thing to sit here on a sunny morning in Japan and think. I'm 49 and I have no parents now.


  1. I'm sorry for your loss. Your step-mum sounded like a very cool lady, the kind of person that I wish I'd known too.

    I think gardening (or even just weeding) would be a great tribute for her.

  2. I can't find the right words, I just wanted to say how sorry I am. It's so hard to lose a parent no matter how grown up we are. Hugs.

    T in Tokyo

  3. I'm so sorry :( Your step mum sounds like such a wonderful person. I'm glad ??) she got to leave so peacefully. It must be a strange thought now with no parents or brothers and sisters. Luckily that guy you met skiing is so wonderful and a great family.

    Weeding and thinking about Jane does indeed sound like a good way to spend the day.

    Thinking of you. Tough times and not the best of weeks to look forward too :(

    You and Yuji need a holiday.

    Big hugs

  4. I'm so sorry to hear of Jane's passing. Such sad news to hear and you being so far away must make it worse. It's the worst time of all as you deal with your own health problems. I guess you won't be able to go back for the funeral? Once again I'm sorry for your loss. Kelly xx

  5. Condolences to you.
    Glad she died peacefully. Good post about her she was obviously very intelligent.
    I am glad you have your partner and that you are not alone today.
    It seems strange to me that are an only child- with your generation and all...

    Michaela, kiwi in Saitama

  6. I am so sorry for your loss, Oyome-san. Your post is a beautiful tribute to someone who was obviously a very special lady. Your love for her really shone through.
    Sincerest condolences from a lurker in the Antipodes.

  7. Thankyou all!
    It's an odd thing this blogging...messages of careing from people I've never met...or friends who are hiding as Lurkers.

    Jane was - that past tense is so unsettling - a special woman. So many roles in so many people's lives...

    She was a great step-mum to me: carefully never surplanting my mother, but there as a caring, older, friend/advisor if I wanted her.
    And we laughed a lot. Ganged up on dad to poke fun at him, continuing our shared Hunt for the Best Chocolate Pudding many memories.

    "Peacefully at home" means many things really - I think it's the actual Physical - the location in the home surrounded with love and support, but it's also your State in Life - whether you are content with your "home" of family and friends, whether you feel they are ok after you've gone.
    I think Jane was.
    Her husband was gone before, her siblings and family have ongoing health/work/relationship trials - but nobody is desperate, and her financial/possession affairs will be closed by people she trusted.
    And there are probably even BETTER chocolate puddings in Heaven!