We’re back in Tokyo.
One and a half years ago when we were here, my mom had one request. If we did come back, could we see the cherry blossom in full bloom? I replied, of course!
After 12 years of spending our New Year vacations out of the country, we decided to change our travels last New Year.
In Japan, cherry blossoms are called Sakura. A special flower symbolic of spring – time of renewal and the fleeting renewal of life!
Cherry blossoms have been regarded as a symbol of spring since the Heian era (794-1185), and this has been woven into the cultural consciousness of Japan. Cherry blossoms, otherwise known as Sakura, are a symbol of a new start and are special flowers for the Japanese.
Turning 82 this year, the diagnosis of colon cancer didn’t come as easy acceptance. Understandably, who would want to be diagnosed to have a neoplastic disease at the winter of their lives? After all, they’ve lived full lives. My mom is a simple woman. But a vain one. She values quality of life over quantity. In spite of her physical and emotional illnesses, here is a woman who will always make sure that her eyebrows are equally lined, her clothes equally match her bags and shoes, her meals served hot and her family happy together.
Over breakfast a week ago, she was looking across the nook and I broke the silence. I asked her what was on her mind. She replied. “How long do I have to live?” I was stunned. That question had taken me aback. After a few minutes, I replied. “I don’t know. No one knows when time is up. Only God makes that call. In His time, mom. In His time.”
She shed tears and replied. “I am tired. And I’m very sad lately.”
I told her “I understand. But our life goal isn’t to be happy. It’s to make sure we live a fulfilling one.” I held her hands and added, “you’re a great mother. I couldn’t ask for more. You’re a difficult person to live with…but you’re one terrific friend. When the time comes that we need to say goodbye, I promise to let you go. In the meantime, we have some unfulfilled dreams. So let’s just try to make great memories while we still can.”
After her surgery last February 4, 2019, I never realised that I would be talking about end of life with my mother. What I didn’t realise most was that I would be given the chance to walk with her through this new challenge in her life. And I am grateful.
Hope springs eternal. And Sakura, the symbol of spring, brings hope to new lives. I will always remember that after the dead of winter, life like a cycle will always have spring.
So here we are. Back in Tokyo during the Sakura festival.
Loving new beginnings…