I’d hate to start a post with a darker tone, but January has been a heck of a month.
My father passed away on January 13th. I got a message from my mom on the 11th, saying he is in the hospital and in a critical condition.
He has been suffering from Pancreatic Cancer. He did have a surgery in summer 2010, but they were unable to remove it all.
We, meaning my two brothers and my mom, were told that his Dr. hadn’t seen anybody last longer than two years. Last time I was in Sasebo, my brother told me I should spend good quality time with him.
Last time I saw him in person was back in May 2011, when I was home in Sasebo. I wrote a little bit about it here.
I talked to dad on the phone at one point, around Jan 11th or 12th, but he was incoherent. According to my brother, who was in the room, he was asking “which station” I was at. He had thought I was back in town…
Technology is an amazing thing. My brother was able to Skype with me over his phone and my younger son and I got to show our faces to my dad in bed. We didn’t get to talk much, but I’m sure he saw us. That was our goodbye. He passed away a day after that.
I wasn’t able to make the funeral, because of many reasons. I had a hard time finding a last-minute ticket that I could afford, and also in Japan funerals has to happen on certain days. I was crushed about it initially, but, looking back, I am almost glad I didn’t attend the service. I probably couldn’t take it. I arrived home a day after the service, around midnight.
Then my mom told me what happened. He went into the hospital on Dec. 16, and everybody thought he’d be out after the New Year. Last time I corresponded with my dad was Dec 2, his birthday. I had asked how he was and he said he just found out he had water in his lungs. In the email he had said he was “full of fear”…
Mom told me that he really wanted to live. He didn’t want to go. This breaks my heart.
I am still having a great difficulty processing my dad’s passing.
I am surprised myself how hard it is. Of course, you only have one father in your life. I always knew it would be hard, but didn’t know just how hard.
I was absolutely overwhelmed and grateful for all the friends’ support. I had a flood of emails, Facebook messages, Tweets and texts. I was especially touched by people who shared their personal stories. I had a few messages from people who also lost their loved ones, either recently or years ago, and they all said they are still hurting.
More than few people told me losing a parent will forever change you. I am just learning exactly what that means.
While I was in Sasebo, I slept in the same room my dad’s shrine was. I was half expecting to see him in my dreams, but that didn’t happen.
I got to have a look at my dad’s phone. Under “family” folder in his email inbox, there was the email I sent to him in December. He also had lots of emails from his colleagues (he worked in just one company his whole life- typical Japanese business man) wishing him to get well.
I don’t really have a point on this post. I think I just needed to write it. I still miss him very much.