Monday, July 11, 2011

Tribute to my mother

It is almost three months after my mother passed away. I would like to write my last blog about my mother, Shizuko. I wanted to see my mother to ask her about her life.
After her death, I found some photos show her life from her childhood to recent years. I asked my father to show me her photo album. I took digital photos of all her old photos, selected several and organized by the age. It was interesting experience seeing my own mother being a baby, young child, then grown up. My younger sister was not interested in seeing her photos as I was until I showed my slide show of her photos.
Shizuko was born in 1934 as oldest daughter in 4 girls whose father was sailor. Shizuko helped her mother grow their own vegetables and take care of house chores. Her father wanted her to get a good education while her mother was conservative and didn’t want her to go to even high school. Young Shizuko protested to go to high school and finally allowed going to vocational high school one year later. After graduating high school, she went to sewing school to learn how to sew custom garments and dresses. I heard that her mother had borrowed money to buy nice Kimono and clothes. Shizuko sew nice garments for her mother and sisters to save money while she taught at a sewing school. She was very fashionable herself and dressed nicely. She met my father in young single volunteer group in the small town of Saka where they had grown up. They got married in 1958. It was unusual for them to fall in love and married back at the time. Most her friends got married by arrangement.
When I was young, other students praised my mother’s good looks. She was tall for a Japanese lady and good looking. She worked hard to send her two daughters to university. She sew custom-made clothes to send two daughters to private university while her conservative husband didn’t believe girls should be educated. She was proud of us. She liked my American husband, Daniel. She loved her two grandsons. I saw similarity between my mother and Daniel. They read all the time and know many things. Last time I went back to Japan with my American family, my mother told my sister and I to dig and to bury the kitchen compost to the vegetable garden, but we didn’t understand what she wanted us to do even after she described it twice. We asked Daniel and he seemed to understand perfectly what my mother wanted without asking her. The work was done as she wished.
She died on April 22nd, 2011. I got to her funeral on time while my husband and children were too busy to accompany me. Her spirit seemed to visit my husband and my youngest son. While I was in Japan, my husband called me that something pushed him very hard to wake him up early in the morning. At the same time, all lights in his bedroom turned on and off. He doesn’t believe in ghosts or anything after death but he felt this had something to do with my mother. My younger son saw her in a dream in which she was walking around her room. She may have wished to see him one very last time.
I had many things which I wanted to ask her and share much time with her. If your mother is healthy and can tell you about her life, I hope she could tell you what her life was like in her childhood or before you knew her.