November 23, 2008

Now at Narita airport, having spent slightly more than a week here in Japan, I sit here at the uber cool Qantas business lounge having time to reflect.  My grandmother is 91, with terminal cancer in her pancreas, and having made the decision not to operate because of her advanced age, has a few years left. 

She is still mobile, lucid and jovial, bur she is pensive.  My aunt Isako has now taken all household chores, including filling up the thermos for the tea.  My grandmother doesn’t even garden anymore.  On the day I arrived (last sat, and stayed for one night), an old lady in the neighbourhood had just passed away, my uncle was out for her funeral.  Mie (written in Katakana, my grandmother’s name) mentions that she used to visit this other lady often.  Another thought spoken-out-loud was that “shikuji-no-obaachan” (grandma from shikuji) had lost her mind and is now at the retirement home.

My grandma told me how she went to get a shampoo in anticipation of my visit.  That night, we gathered all the cousins for take home sushi.

Next morning I walked around the small village, and visited the family tomb.  At the onset of winter, the autumn leaves in fading red & brown, litter the temple yard.  The air is crisp.  There is always an ethereal beauty to the change of seasons.

Went to the temple with Aunt Isako for the family tomb

Went to the temple with Aunt Isako for the family tomb

It could be the last time I see my Grandmother Mie.


2 Responses to “Grandmother”

  1. L.C Says:

    I like Grandmother Mie already..the 91-yr old grandmother who goes for a shampoo in anticipation of her grandson’s visit. The ending bit is a tad sad but I bear the hope that she will get to witness the ethereal beauty of several more seasonal changes.

  2. jun368 Says:

    I hope she has meaningful years left.

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