May 24th 2012 was the day Dad’s flight was scheduled to leave Tokyo. That morning, I opened my eyes and felt a blanket of sadness pull up over my head. I don’t know if all parents are like this, or if it’s a psychiatrist thing, or an old thing, but dad just acted like he did every morning. I on the other hand walked around with a trembling bottom lip and tears on my lower lids, intermittently looking at him and saying, “where did the time go?!?” Later that morning, walking through the bedroom, I found Lita (my latest helper) crying. Evidently Dad reminded her of her dad.
- Me: Lita, what’s wrong? handing a box of tissues to her
- Lita: I’m just sad thinking about my father who died maam
- Me: (shocked) What?!? Oh! I am so sorry! When did he die?
- Lita: 17 years ago.
- Me: silence
- Lita: sniffling
- Me: Lita! My mom died LAST MONTH! I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown. You need to get your shit together or go home! I can’t take it today
- Lita: Yes maam. I’m so sorry.
- Me: walking out of the room
Was I harsh? I don’t care. Since mom died, I feel like stuff just comes out of my mouth. Maybe I’m channeling my mom. She was a lot like that.
At the airport, Dad and I had a good “Korean Drama” moment. The Japanese are so stoic. As I was standing there hugging, crying and kissing Dad, there was an older Japanese dad saying good-bye to his adult daughter who was leaving to fly off somewhere. I don’t know how they do it. I am tearing up just blogging about it now. Most people know sayonara means good-bye. Ja mata is less formal and means see you soon. With my mom’s death, suddenly good-byes seem so final. I hate good-byes. I think that’s why I just leave. I probably got that from my mom too.
MAY IN TOKYO
Whether you live in the United States or Japan, end of school year activities abound in May. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer at school. In the expat community, everyone will always ask, “So when are you leaving?” “Where are you going?” because all the foreigners (women and children primarily) will leave to travel or visit home. The question gets asked repeatedly because we can’t keep everyone’s dates straight and it’s something to talk about. There are lots of last-minute lunches and dinners before the mass exodus. I wonder what Tokyo is like without all the foreign wives lunching and shopping during the day. Even Tokyo American Club shifts into “Summer Hours” and many activities are cancelled. I have visions of tumbleweeds rolling through Roppongi Dori. There is a side of me that would like to stay to just enjoy the quiet, but then I am reminded of the heat, the sweat-soaked clothing, and showering 4 times a day and I think… 2 months with my sister is a good idea.
Today I was invited to lunch at Alexandra’s. She calls herself friend, but honestly she feels more like a bossy sister. I love it. It was so nice to share some girl time. It makes me miss all my regular lunches with my girls in Atlanta, Denver, Charleston…. Laughing and talking today was the first time since mom died that I felt close to normal. I hope to see them again.
May 24th Dad returns to America
May 25th-27th Feel sorry for myself
May 27th Brian from Denver visits!
June 3rd Brian returns to Colorado
June 12th Chase & I return to US
June 26th Chase goes to Camp Kieve (25 days sleep away camp)
Until next time…