Just like that, my mother is gone…it was an abrupt ending. She was totally fine a few days ago. Well, “totally fine” might not capture the full truth of the cancer patient. Her energy and oxygen levels had declined lately, but she was still fine. She was walking on her own. Her mind was as sharp as a samurai sword. She was doing laundry, eating, and socializing. So nobody even imagined that she might not come back from a supposed-to-be-simple procedure. In fact, her last conversation with my sister-in-law, Ritsuko, was what to eat when she got out of the hospital. It was never if.

Life is not fair. Her life deserved more. After having taken care of countless others, I anticipated a grand culmination, envisioning her enjoying daily luxuries — hot spring baths, gardening, exercise, travel, scrumptious meals on the little island until her days drew to close. Instead, she was struck by cancer and relocated to a care facility, leaving her friends and flowers behind.


“Take a look from a different perspective,” my friend said when we were having dinner together. “Isn’t it amazing that she was able to enjoy food and her life until the last moment?”

She was right. Looking back, I realized how blessed she was even amidst the battle against cancer. Both my brother and Ritsuko, along with my nephews, showered her with exceptional care. Having an outstanding daughter-in-law is akin to winning a jackpot, wouldn’t you agree? And she indulged in meals—truly relished them. Nothing diminished her appetite. Even the chemotherapy treatments. The post-chemo lunchtime with Ritsuko was a joy for her. Each time, they picked a different spot and chatted for hours after chemo. Dessert was a must. She ate as heartily as my rapidly growing teenage nephews.

Yesterday, my youngest nephew recounted an incident from the other day when he assisted her at a shopping mall. In gratitude, she expressed, “Keisuke, tell me what you want. I’ll buy it for you. I’m truly thankful for your help today.”
With a touch of hesitation, he responded, “Well, I’m uncertain as what I wish for is quite costly. My mother might not approve.”
“Keisuke, this is between you and me. Your mother has nothing to do with it. You shall have what you desire. Because I say so.”
That’s how Keisuke ended up with a newer and more stylish phone compared to his older brothers.

Yep, she lived her life with a resolute attitude. Rest in peace, mom…

A little girl with a hat smiling

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