Today my schedule is backwards and even though it is a Thursday I'm off to the kindergarten in a few minutes (getting ready for a Christmas program.)
Yesterday, December 5, was the anniversary of our first daughter's passing. She would have been 30! I think for Japanese, the remembering of the date of death is much more important than for Westerners. The Buddhist custom is to have ceremonies a certain number of days after death and the ceremonies continue at intervals throughout the first year and for then after at certain memorial years. And of course there is the summer "returning of spirits" holidays and another in the fall. It is very important to take flowers and incense to grave or offer rice to the home altar etc.
Tetsu and I don't do all that, we don't get up to the cemetery which we have in the northern part of Japan. As Christians we don't have a family altar nor get involved with different memorial ceremonies at a temple. The church has a memorial day in the autumn and family members will bring in pictures of their loved one but that's about it.
Even so... Tetsu called me on the cell phone yesterday when I was working. I thought it was an emergency! (he so rarely calls me.)
"Did you remember what day today is?" (I did.) "It is the anniversary of Maya-chan's death. Shall I buy flowers?"
So Tetsu brought home a beautiful arrangement of flowers to adorn our piano... We didn't do that much reminiscing. Just tried to figure out how long ago it was that we went through the hardest time of our lives.
I wrote a letter to my friend who lost her son a couple weeks ago. I wanted to tell her how I viewed the short life of her son (27 years) and my daughter (2 months).
"It is not how long the person has lived. Our children filled a purpose in their short lives. They made a mark on the world that lasts ever so much longer than their time on earth. Your life has been changed. My life has been changed. Thanks to that child's life we will never see things the same as we did before."
I would also say that time does help the pain and heartache. 30 years ago in this season I'm sure Tetsu and I wondered if we would ever smile again, but joy and happiness have overflowed!