Tuesday, 26 August 2014

And so...5 years.

Beautiful late summer day.
Sunshine. High blue skies.
Same then. Same now.
When I got the phone call: your dad has been found dead at home, by the postman...with his dog by his side.

5 years ago. A lot of life - and another death since then. I always feel this late summer is the time when I lost family - my Dad in August, and one year later, in early September my step-mum.

Seems a long time 5 years - years of living with Okaasan and getting used to it. Work, Friends going and coming. Holidays in Australia, England and Brazil. Knee damage and treatment. A friend's baby boy in my life. A new car. A new hobby.

But sometimes not so long.

Japan has a whole season of remembering the dead, in mid-August people go back to hometowns and visit graves. Light lanterns and candles. Pray and remember.

In a way I think it is a good idea. Of course I remember, but it's just me. I sent my step-aunt a "thankyou for your help 5 years ago" e mail. And that is it. Maybe dad's friends/neighbors in the village remember? Or maybe not so much. They remember the person and his joy - in most Western cultures that is considered important. More than the date.
But I do still remember. That he was found on August 26 and had probably died on the 24th. Came back home from his daily visit to his wife in hospital. Drove the cleaning lady home. Came home to his house to cook sausages for dinner. Maybe he had the TV on. And then he fell on the living room carpet, hit his head and - hopefully - died.
He wasn't wearing the emergency call button. His dog stayed with him. People telephoned but no answer. The postman delivered onto the front door mat the next day. But on the 2nd day realized it had been untouched and pushed the door open a little more. And had a terrible shock.

I feel my England family life unraveled from that moment. My had mum died 15 years ago in hospital, as expected - from cancer.

Dad was a shock.
Sorry. Just sad. My blog. Somewhere to be sad.
Got lessons in 2 hours. Got to cook dinner before I go. Cats to feed. Life to live.

So. Just that.


  1. Thankyou. It is what it is. Usually fine, but this season just reminds me of being in the Uk for house clearing, lawyers office, funerals and farewells.

  2. My sympathies as well. My parents are still living but my only sibling died almost twenty years ago. Losing a sibling is both different from and the same as losing a parent, I think. Anyway, all these years later, I still miss him dreadfully on ocassion; this is both a difficult and a joyous thing for me. - Karen

  3. I really feel for you! Karin

  4. Thankyou all - this was just a place to share my feelings with someone. Grief is funny - it is always there under the surface of every day life. I guess there is no time when it stops. For close family and friends it is there - and for people we have known. I teach mostly older adults - and the students who have died are still with me - the lady who had cancer, but who went on an African safari on her own before she died...the Japanese fighter pilot who loved gliding...the little old lady who smiled and smiled....if people remember you with happiness after you've died - that is good.

  5. I think no matter how old you are, it feels just a little lonely when your parents are gone. I think I understand.... take care.

  6. It's interesting that you mention the hindsight positivity as a trait of Western culture; it's one of those things I assumed, naively, would be universal. It's certainly more appropriate to look at it in a different perspective.

    Hopefully, if it's something you value, you still have plenty of good memories to recall. As someone who's anonymously enjoyed this window into your life in Japan (something I'm going to start myself soon) I appreciate your willingness to share your personal experiences with the rest of us. Hang in there!