Tag Archives: Death

“If this is my last night on earth…..”

Enough people (including myself) wrote about Steve Jobs and his passing, but this is my favorite episode of his life;

From “9 things you didn’t know about the life of Steve Jobs”, this one is with the title of “The wife he leaves behind”. It says:

For all of his single-minded dedication to the company he built from the ground up, Jobs actually skipped a meeting to take Laurene on their first date: “I was in the parking lot with the key in the car, and I thought to myself, ‘If this is my last night on earth, would I rather spend it at a business meeting or with this woman?’ I ran across the parking lot, asked her if she’d have dinner with me. She said yes, we walked into town and we’ve been together ever since.”

They met in 1990 and got married in1991 at Yosemite National Park by a Zen Buddhist monk. I can’t imagine what Laurene must be going through in these past few weeks – losing a life partner for over 20 years. As much as she was proud and supportive of the work Steve Jobs have done, I wonder there were days or nights where she wished he would have been with her and their children.  In the end, what matters is whether you found joy in your life, and whether you shared that with someone you love. His story about this love can be an inspiration for people who say they want to find someone to love, but make other things more important than taking the time, and chance, in finding out if the person next to is the one to love.

ミカ

先日こちらの記事に書いたサンノゼに住む親友の話です。彼女はミカという名前の犬を飼っていました。ミカが2歳のときにシェルターからもらってきたそうです。偶然にもミカという名前がついていたのだとか(親友は日系アメリカ人です)。それから10年近くがたち、ミカは病気になってしまいました。癌にかかり、親友とだんなさんは相談して、足を切断するという決断をしました。私たちも去年12月に遊びに行きましたが、3本足になっても普通に歩いたり元気に飛び回ったりしていて、ぱっと見では気づかないような感じでした。もちろん、もう年なので寝ていることが多かったのですが、起きているときは優しい、いたずら好きないつものミカでした。

ミカは大きい犬です。子どもたち(特に下の子)は最初は怖がっていましたが、ミカが気立てのいい優しい犬だとわかったようで、滞在の最後の方ではミカの背中をさすったりできるくらいになっていました。親友の話では、今5歳になる一番上の女の子が生まれたばかりの時、ミカは赤ちゃんが泣いていればすっとんで彼女を呼びにくるし、散歩に行ったときもほかの犬が乳母車に近寄ろうものならすごい勢いで赤ちゃんを守ろうと、乳母車の前に立ちはだかったりしたのだそうです。そのあと双子の女の子が生まれました。だんなさんが出張の多い仕事をしていたときも、ミカがいれば安心でした。親友の家族にとっては、ミカは3人の女の子たちを守ってくれる、大切な家族の一員でした。

そのミカの癌が再発し、具合は急変しました。先週土曜日の夜、親友はFacebookに書き込みをしました。”I am sleeping on the floor next to Mika, because I don’t believe in dying alone” 「一人で死なせることはしたくないから、今日はミカの隣の床で寝る」と。その夜は持ちこたえたそうですが、親友はだんなさんと話し合って、ミカを永眠させる苦渋の決断をしました。もう動くこともできないし、数日待っても苦しむようになるだけだから・・・と。日曜日は一日中、家の前の庭で過ごしたそうです。ハムやピーナッツ・バター、ホイップクリームなどミカの好物を好きなだけ食べさせてあげました。近所の人や、彼女のサクラメントに住む妹がやってきてお別れをしました。月曜日、子どもたちが学校や預け先にいていない時に、親友はだんなさんと一緒に獣医にミカを連れて行きました。

親友は数ヶ月前にお母様を亡くしたばかりです。私は、Facebookに書かれたこのノートを読んで、ミカとお母様がどんなに似ていたかを理解しました。どちらも、癌を一度は克服したこと、その手術が1年近くの時間を与えてくれたこと。どちらも家族を一番大切に思っていたこと。どちらも、とても勇敢でそして美しかったこと。2月18日が” ampuversary” (anniversary と amputationの造語。こんなときでもユーモアを忘れない彼女です)つまり足を切断してから1年後の記念日になるはずでした。偶然にも、生きていたらお母様の68歳の誕生日だったそうです。短い間に大切な家族を亡くすという経験を2回もした一家。今はただ、一日一日を過ごすだけだと語っていました。

また犬を飼うことはあると思う?と聞かれて、もう少し時間がたったらね・・・と言っていた彼女。犬や猫などのペットを飼うということは、かなりの確率でそのペットの死も体験すると言うことです。死を体験することがつらいからもう飼わないという選択肢もあります。最後に死んでしまうなら、何でそんなことしなければならないの?結局何のために生きたの?という思考もできます。人間でも同じことだと思います。人はみないつかは死ぬのですから。でも、私はきっと彼女はまた犬を飼うだろうと思っています。それはミカが生きた12年間、その一日一日の積み重ねや、一緒に過ごした時間の思い出は、最後にまたつらい思いをすることをわかっていたとしても、それでもなにものにも代えがたい、素晴らしいものだったからです。「たかが」ペットという人もいるでしょう。でも人間ではないけれども、生命をもっているものと、そんなに濃い関係を築くことができた彼女と家族の生活はまちがいなくより豊かなものになったし、これからも彼女たちはこの体験を選ぶだろうという気がしています。

Letting Go

Last week when I was in St.Louis, my mentor Pam took me to this place called “Black Madonna Shrine”. It img_0658was a sacred place to honor all mothers. We walked around a bit and found a place to perform a little ceremony for Miroku (you can read more about Miroku here). Pam blessed Miroku’s picture – she took it in her palms and said that he will never be forgotten, but at the same time, we are letting him go. I placed the picture on a stone surface behind this statue called “life memorial” and put some leaves to cover it.

Today I received a package containing a beautiful silver pendant. On one side it has tiny hands and feet prints, and on the back, it said “Miroku 12/07/2009”. It took me a few seconds to remember who sent this gift, but then I came back to me; this company Juilian & Co, based in Coronado, CA has this service for those who had lost their babies, and I vaguely remembered filling out the form which was in a folder I received at the hospital on the day he died.

It is truly a special gift. I was also happy that looking at those tiny hands & feet and his name on the back did not make me feel sad. It was a celebration of life and a beautiful reminder that he was there. As I write this, I hear my husband’s and our two sons’ voices in the other room, happily singing ABCs. I tell myself, I am blessed, and I can feel that even more deeply now because of Miroku. He will be with us always and in all ways.

My Sister’s Keeper

I recently watched the movie “My Sister’s Keeper”. It is based on a novel with the same title, however the movie differs from the novel slightly. It is about a girl, Anna, whose DNA was my_sisters_keeper_postergenetically designed so she could be a perfect donor to her older sister, Kate, who has leukemia.  In the movie, Anna, age 11, decides to sue her parents seeking to win control of her own body on the grounds of medical emancipation  as she no longer wanted to give her body parts to help her sister due to the potential impact it would have for her own life. Despite this serious theme, I found the movie enjoyable and somewhat uplifting. It was also thought provoking; would  parents really go as far as having another, genetically designed baby so they’d have a perfect donor to their dying child? Where is the line between wanting to do everything within their power to help, and going too far? Continue reading

The Life of Baby Miroku

It was raining really hard and even stormy on Monday this week, highly unusual for San Diego. I canceled my RCB course as I was feeling some pain in my abdomen. Being 16 rain202weeks pregnant, I felt that I needed to take it easy. I lied down in bed and waited for my doctor’s office to open at 9:10. But before that time came, my water broke and I went into a premature labor. My husband and I rushed to the Sharp Mary Birch hospital where we had delivered our two previous children over the past few years. Long story short, our baby was born at 10:31. It was a boy. His heart was no longer beating. According to the doctor who took care of me, it was a miscarriage because it was before 20 weeks – but to me, whatever the correct medical term might be, what happened was that we had our baby boy and he passed away.

As I wrote in my previous post, I had experienced a miscarriage before I had my first child. Ever since that experience, I was very private about my pregnancy – I waited as long as I could to start telling people each time I got pregnant. I’d tell people only I was into 5th months when my regular clothes no longer fit. So this time, only a few people knew that I was pregnant with our 3rd baby. I just had my OB check on Thursday last week, everything was going well, and I was finally into my 5th months, so I was going to tell people at work this week – then Monday came, and this happened. I had to tell them that I “was” pregnant, but I lost our baby, and that I needed a few days off from work. I stayed at the hospital on Monday night as I had to go through a D&C operation. I returned home on Tuesday. I went to work on Wednesday and Friday briefly to take care of some things, but other than that, I stayed home mostly, trying to recover physically and going through the grieving process. Today I had a meeting at the school where I work that I could not reschedule, so I went in for a few hours. Most people did not even know that I was pregnant, much less about what happened, and I could have just let it be. If I had kept quiet and carried normal conversations with people during the few hours I was there, they would not have known anything at all. But I felt this strange desire to start telling people. As painful and sad it is to think or talk about this experience and our dead baby, if I don’t talk about him, nobody would know about him. I wanted people and the world to know that our baby boy existed even for a short period of time. So I decided to write about him.

We named him Miroku. After he came out, I had to go to the operation room to have the D&C procedure performed, and while I was gone, my husband told Miroku some bedtime stories and about his two brothers. After I came back, I held him for a very long time. His eyes were shut and we never heard him cry, but we have this memory of him, with his tiny arms wrapped around himself. He was wrapped by a blue baby blanket and had a tiny yellow hat on. We finally said good-bye to Miroku later that evening.

We called my mentor Susie Walton while this was happening – I wanted to talk to her, as I knew she could help us get through this experience. She later called back and left a message on my cell phone. She said that Miroku came to us, so he could experience our love. Obviously, I would have liked it if he had stayed with us longer. If I had known that our time was so limited, would I still have wanted him to come to us? I also reached out to my other mentor Pamela Dunn after I came home on Tuesday. We talked on Wednesday, and she helped me work through some of the regrets I had about what happened. She suggested this beautiful “what if”. What if Miroku’s soul needed to be healed by love, before he had to move onto other place to do whatever he needed to do? He chose us to be his parents and stayed with us for 16 weeks. Now that his soul was healed by our love, he had to say good-bye. When I heard Pam say this, I felt something shift in my heart. Until that moment, I had been so focusing on things I wish I could have done better or differently before this whole thing happened. But if he came to us because he wanted to be loved so his soul could heal, I can say that we did the best we could – after he was born, he was never left alone in the room, he was held by either my husband or myself for the whole time – we told him about his brothers, how much we love him, and how much we’d have loved to take him home. We took some pictures, and I video taped my husband talking to our children while holding Miroku, so that they could someday learn about their younger brother. I hope that Miroku’s soul was filled with love by the time we had to say good bye.

There is no point or conclusion to this post as it’s a grieving process that I am going through – I am trying to take one day at a time. I’ve been crying my eyes out every day and I don’t think it will stop anytime soon. My role model Chris Guillebeau whom I had a pleasure to meet back in September has a favorite quote that he posts occasionally, and I dug through his tweets to find it. I think this somehow fits into this situation so I’ll end this post with that quote;

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” -Dr Seuss


Gift of Life

This is a post inspired by Joseph Jin who is a reader of my blog and occasionally leaves comments. The below is a part of his comment on my blog post “Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind”, which was written back in June this year.

“…..Also, your comment about Nausicaa giving her life without calculation made me think: Calculation is typical of a mind which is afraid to embrace death and sacrifice; a calculating mind is practically equal to the mortal state of being, since anyone conscious of mortality will fear death. Nausicaa did not calculate this way, and this is what I think brought her across into the state of immortality. Not Nausicaa’s life, but life itself is what Nausicaa embodies. Always dying, always immortal. Ikiru. So Miyazaki, so Japanese. There’s no mistaking this film’s continued influence and popularity”

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Birthday Resolutions

This past Tuesday was my birthday. Last year on my birthday, I created a list of “Birthday Resolutions” & “Things to do before turning 40”. I was inspired to make these lists by the movie “The bucket list” and Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project”. Birthday resolutions were like New Year’s resolutions and included things that I wanted to start focusing on relatively quickly, such as getting back in exercise routine, while the other list included more long-term plan such as writing a book or all the places I want to visit. The bucket list from the movie is a happy_birthday_06list of things to do before one dies. While anyone can die at any point for any reason, people generally don’t think about it on daily basis. I wanted to give the items I put on my bucket list some sense of urgency, so I modified into a list of “Things to do before 40”. A year later, some of the things from both lists have come true, including having my own business through which I can be in service to others and be inspired at the same time. Since I still work full-time, and have two young children, my time is relatively limited, but when I get to work on it, those activities – whether it’s writing a blog post, coaching someone, building relationships on social media, or thinking about all kinds of services I could offer, I lose track of time.

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