Friday, 2 January 2015

Start the year, as you mean to go on...

Start the year by being a perfect daughter-in-law to a lonely old lady who doesn't have any family to celebrate New Year with...

Honestly, I don't know if anyone even telephoned Okaasan...there are some brothers, a sister, a useless son...somewhere in the Tokyo area.
I didn't hear her get a phone call at all. There was no call on the house phone.
She got one New Year card. One. From the son of her brother, who got married a few years back - so she is on that couple's computer list of wedding invites/thankyou cards/New Year cards.

So I did my best.
Opened her room curtains with a cheerful "Happy New Year" in the morning and delivered her one and only card.
At lunchtime got all the things she'd bought a few days back out of the fridge. Heated up the soup, made salad, cut the fish paste, heated up the chicken and vegetables stew and arranged it all on the table...

Sat down and welcomed in 2015 with Okaasan.
It was ok - she was chatty enough - telling me many many times that all the foods have meanings. And what the name of everything is. Talked a little about cooking all of this kind of food from scratch many years ago. Ate her way through lots of it.

At 2 pm I got her dressed up and decided which of the four possible bag choices were necessary... and took her on foot 5 minutes away to the tiny shrine in the park. The weather was warm and sunny, but quite a lot of ice on the roads.
We walked carefully, and hand in hand...
At the shrine various local people from the residents' association recognised me and said hello...Okaasan trotted along at my side.
We prayed at the first shrine at the bottom of the slope, and then she gamely said she was going to climb the steep slope to the main we did that too.

I helped her on and off with her gloves and gave her money to throw in the offering box. Helped her ring the bell. All of that.

Wonder what she prayed for? More bags and a different daughter-in-law?!!

After 30 mins with the local families, the dogs and the cars - we came back down the slope and carefully home again.
Where I served up hot coffee and a sheep shape sweetbean cake. Settled Okaasan back down with the TV.
And that was New Year.

Later I went out to have dinner with a friend. Left the New Year food and rice for Okaasan to pick at if she was hungry.

I can't keep this level of daughter-in-law duty up at all.
But for January 1st it was a good effort.


  1. Happy New Year Oyomesan! - You are amazing ! :)

  2. I think you are AMAZIMG! My parents have both passed away and I remember all the care, time and attention it took during their illnesses. Please take care of yourself and remember others do read your blog and wish you and your family well.