Sunday, 8 May 2011

Mother's Day

This is my mother, Eve.
Today is Mother's day in Japan and the US (in the UK, confusingly, it usually March or April).

My mum died in 1996 of myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells. I'd just arrived in Sapporo to start work at a cult-like English school and one June morning my step-mother and father called to tell me that mum had died in hospital after 2 years of illness.
She had fallen down while walking a few years before, then later doctors found a big part of her skull and hip bone was soft and spongy...and her bones and blood got worse and worse.

Mum was a writer, editor and graphic designer. She wrote handicraft books and edited the sewing section of a woman's magazine.
She was an awesome cook and gardener, loved cats and wine and mystery novels and Scrabble. She was one classy dresser, and never went out without make-up and carefully co-ordinated clothes.
Mum was bossy and emotional, laughing and argumentative. Married twice, and one daughter.

Now I live with HIS mother, to me she is just an old lady we have to care for - but I TRY to remember that for him she is mum...not always a source of trouble, but also lots of positive shared-memory things. I try. Not always very successful. :-))

*** My current "mother"....Yesterday was one unexpected sharing moment with Okaasan; she actually TOLD me she was having toilet problems! Very surprising.
I walked into the kitchen and found her making tea and looking a bit distressed. She told me she had constipation and was getting tired sitting in the toilet. I made her filter coffee and told her (truthfully) that I've had this problem all my life. So I gave her two cups of filter coffee and hoped that did the trick - it always does for me.

I wondered too about the diet we give her, are there actually enough vegetables and fruit? Maybe too often in our meal times "vegetable" means salad, because it is easy. But a few bits of lettuce and stuff isn't a lot of roughage and Okaasan doesn't eat so much anyway. She eats rice, soup and the tofu/fish part with pickles.
Sometimes she buys apples ( only green are deemed good enough to eat), but she often forgets them after a day or two and I end up eating them instead.

Anyway - as luck would have it, I was shopping yesterday at the cheap and great vegetable shop so I bought up a load of stuff and did roast veggies with garlic and rosemary for dinner, with turnip leaves as a side dish etc - so we ALL got a good shot of veggies yesterday.

But interesting that Okaasan told me about her toilet problems. It was a good personal topic sharing-moment and made me wonder whether I CAN broach the topic of diaper pads with her?



  1. does she eat a lot of white rice? is there any way to sneak in any brown rice? there's the stuff you can add to white rice and is quite nice.

    how about more fresh fruit, esp. apples? prune jam on toast? (trying to think here...) other dried fruits? maybe raisins (or dried apricots) to snack on while watching TV?

    i know you're not asking for advice (assvice) so feel free to totally ignore anything i've written here!

  2. Your Mother was beautiful. What lovely photos.

  3. Your mum looks beautiful, my mum died on thursday so it is a sad day for me too, I miss her already.

  4. Origa-me (GREAT name by the way!) - I am so sorry to hear about your mum, and yes...that picture of her with the curls is sweet...I think 13 years old in those far off days was quite grown up.;-)

    Illahee - can't do much about the rice...we can sneak in the other grains, but basically it's white white white.
    More fresh fruit yes - I think I should buy more and cut it up and inclide it in dinner so she eats it...she BUYS apples, but they sit in the bowl on the kitchen table and when they start going soft...I eat them.
    But I am thinking about it....i've suffered constipation for ever, so it's a pet topic of mine...AllBran, coffee, chai does the trick for me.
    Of course walking would help Okaasan, but with bad weather recently she doesn't go out walking...

  5. i'm sorry oyome-san, i forgot to say i thought your mom was beautiful. i'm sorry she is no longer with you.

    constipation is no fun! i think japanese solutions are gobo and konnyaku. don't know how well they work, though. raisin bran works well for me, but not all that easy to get (although, the fukuoka costco now carries post raisin bran. yum!)

  6. I always heal my constipation issues with coffee, it always works wonders but until now had never found anyone else who did that!

    Your mum was a beauty, thanks for sharing :)