This is a photo of my grandparent’s wedding in Japan in 1957. They had quite a love story. It began quite humorously with my grandfather making the mistake of giving her a friendly smack on the behind, which ended with him finding himself on the floor after my grandmother decked him. Later, he found out that she came from a prestigious family, and realized he had to make amends. He camped himself outside of her home for three nights in the cold, until my great-grandmother convinced her to go out and accept his apology. Then, he began his pursuit, finally winning a first date with the offer of donuts and coffee, which were a treat during the days of occupation and rations.
They went on to date for seven years, until they were able to get her paperwork pushed through to the Japanese consulate to be married, after which they immediately moved to the states. Almost a year later, my mom was born.
They were married for 33 years, until my grandfather passed away on Thursday, October 25, 1990 at 3:45PM. Eighteen years later, on Friday, October 24, 2008 at 4:45PM, my grandmother passed on to join him. My mother had dreamt the night before that my grandfather was calling for my grandmother to come home. The dates, times seemed very connected.
In the past three years, I learned a lot of cool, random things about her, including
- She knew how to dance the Jitterbug, Charleston, Waltz, Tango, Rumba and Samba.
- She was betrothed to a member of the Mikimoto Pearl family, and was disowned when she chose to marry my grandfather instead.
- She was an athlete – she loved to ski, and could have been in the Olympics for swimming.
- When she moved to the US, she insisted the household be purely English speaking, and lost her ability to speak in Japanese.
- She feared flying – when her, my grandfather & my mother were supposed to leave Hawaii, they got on an earlier flight, and the one they should have been on exploded on takeoff.
- She was able to watch Soul Train and imitate the dance moves perfectly.
- At the nursing home, she learned how to play hangman and was able to win at it.
It’s still hard right now to remember things other than being with her in that final moment. Watching her color change, hearing breathing slow, and seeing the beat of her pulse stop on her neck. I’m comforted by the fact that she wasn’t alone, that I was able to tell her how we loved her and everything was going to be ok, and that she is finally in a place where she no longer suffers. The afterlife is a mystery, but whatever it is, I just hope that it includes her being reunited with her family, my grandfather, all the pets that she once loved. I hope that she is able to dance again, and is surrounded by nothing but pure happiness and beauty.
Light a Candle