One of my dearest friends just had a horrible ordeal come to an end. Last night, his wife of 16 short years, suddenly fell into a coma and passed away in her sleep.
Segovia - Variations on Mozart's Theme
Kiyomi san - This song is dedicated to you
She was 56 years old. Far too young to have received such a fate.
About three years ago, this wife, this young vibrant woman, began having problems in her right foot. It was a peculiar problem at first. They thought nothing of it and expected it to go away in time.
But these problems persisted and, when they finally went to a doctor, the doctor couldn't diagnose what the problem was. This went on for months as they went from doctor to doctor and hospital to hospital and the problem progressively got worse. Still, all these doctors, all these hospitals - the best medicine Japan has to offer with the best western medicine - yet none knew what the problem was nor did they even know what was wrong. These doctors couldn't identify the malady. They kept trying different things, but nothing worked.
Why do you think doctor's call their offices a "practice"?
After playing doctor roulette for so long, my friend and his wife found a doctor who "specialized" in this sort of disease. I don't know how one specializes in unknown diseases, but specialize they do. It seems that only 2 or 3 people a year are afflicted with this special disease she had - of which there really isn't a Japanese name for - but it is what she was diagnosed as having. In the west this disease is known as A.L.S. or Lou Gehrig's disease.
As an aside, doctor's - as well as patients - need a name for their ailment as that makes it easier to understand. You know, it is easier to fight or complain about your, say, being overweight if you blame it on "Slow Metabolism" (then it is not your fault) or to blame problems on, say, Nazi's or Fascists rather than some unknown rebels lurking in the shadows; whether we are at war with people or at war with some disease, bacteria or physiological disorder.
Naming the enemy makes things easier to understand for us mere mortals. Too bad that names do not make cures come easier. Also a mere name isn't a very holistic way to view the problem...
The problem is that there are so many diseases (and created names for those diseases) that even when you name them, it means little. Like naming types of alcohol; even if you do, there's so many names for different variations of the same types. In wine, there's red and white wine, Zinfandel, Chablis, etc. etc. (I know nothing of wines). There's whiskey; Bourbon, scotch, single malt and double... More? Not to mention gin, vodka, rum, beer... No matter. They are all alcohol. I could probably write pages of descriptions and still never name them all... But they are all, ultimately, variations on a theme.
Just like names for diseases... They are just types and throw-away classifications. Never mind the scotch that is sold to you as bourbon.
But, I digress....
Kiyomi and Michio in Hawaii. What a happy couple!
Kiyomi san passed away this morning. She was way too young. Life is fleeting and what is here today is not here tomorrow.
The world lost a loving human being who was the principal of a kindergarten school. As you know, it takes an especially wholesome and kind person to dedicate their lives to small children. She was this kind of person.
The world just lost a little spoonful of love when she passed away... This is really too bad as, today, the world needs all the love it can get.
My friend, Michio, Kiyomi's husband, has been caring for her for these last three years since her illness first reared its ugly head. This guy is like a rock. No matter how dark the days became, he was always positive and didn't become depressed.
I don't know if I could do the same.
I mean, if it were me that got sick, I might want to kill myself.... But it might even be worse if I were the one that had to care for the sick person. How I would suffer and feel sorry for myself if this happened to me!
How selfish and vain a person I am!
But, my friend, Michio is different. He didn't moan and complain about his lot. Today, while his wife still lay silent in her bed, I visited him. We hugged and we both cried. Yet, he stood tall. He smiled at me and said, "Thank you for coming."
After we hugged and cried, he soon gathered his composure and told me that he wasn't tired or stressed. Of course it was an ordeal, but his attitude helped him to over come. He told me that if he had taken an attitude that, "This is awful" he probably could not have coped. But he took the attitude of "This is my mission. This is my calling in life. I am positive!" and he took the time and effort everyday during this ordeal to do the best and be the best he could.
He put love into everything he did for her and his family. He dedicated everything for them. It didn't matter of it was a trivial chore like mopping the floor, going to the grocery store or even slicing onions; if he took the attitude that it was for a higher purpose and it was his calling, then he could cope; he could adapt and overcome.
I wonder if I could do the same?
Here is a man that is an inspiration to us all. He did it for a woman that he loved and, together, they made a story that will inspire me and my family for the rest of our lives. I write this blog now and hope that it inspires you, too.
It is a miracle that these sorts of things happen all around us everyday of the year... Isn't it just an easy change of attitude for you to see these miracles for what they are? Kiyomi's and Michio's experience shows me just how important each and every day is to each and every one of us.
Dear reader, think about your situation... Do you really have any time to waste?
Thanks so much to Michio and Kiyomi Hashimoto. You both are an inspiration to us all. God bless you.