It has been a year of drastic change for me.
First of all, my mother has passed away at the age of 96 years on Apr 29th. She was born and had grown up here in a country side. She married to my father at a sanatolium for patients with pulmonary tuberculosis where she had worked as a nurse. My aunt had managed that facility with her firm belief in Christianity when tuberculosis remained a fatal illness. A few years later, when tuberculosis won't be fatal with the appearance of antibiotics and, eventually, such a sanatolium was not necessary in the society any longer, my parents have decided to leave for Tokyo. My mother has worked very hard as a nurse while father as a blue worker at a hospital. I still have a fond memory of my mother in nurse uniform working vividly at a Salvation Army hospital in a suburb of Tokyo. When she retired from her work some 30 years ago, she came back here to live together with us. I and my wife owe much to my parents to raise our three children here. In the last decade of her life, she gradually suffered from dementia. Fortunately, her personality has been preserved pretty well until the very last moment in her life despite of losing recent memory. She was always smiling at us except when asking repeatedly about our father who had passed away 8 years ago. Despite of her serious illness since last fall, she has not stopped smiling us and was even asking about my family when I saw her. She passed away so quietly as if a candle was being put out. I believe it was a blessing to her that she had spent her last days in such a peace. She has left us some time to share memories in our lives and to let us get prepared for her passing away. According to her wishes, she was sent to my mother med school in Tokyo after being worn a nurse uniform. She has lived one of the best lives as a wife, a mother and a nurse throughout her life, even though it was not an apparently successful life from common viewpoint.
I was shocked at the earthquake as well as the nuclear power plant accident in Mar 11/12. It looked as if a TV drama had been going on when I watched the video of tsunami repeatedly on TV. The nuclear power plant accidents have been of much interest to me. More than an interest. It seemed to jeopardize our own exisitence in the world. I had been apathic for a week or so after the disaster occurred. The sequel of the accident tells us that the authorities in the administration has not been reliable regarding what is really occuring there or what will occur there in the future. I am sure most of the japanese people learned we should go on without the nuclear power plants. Together with the difficult situation in the coast areas suffering from the tsunami, this accident will go on being of my concern from now on. I have been thankful to all the words of concern or encouragement from my friends all over the world.
It was a year when I realized of my age. It was immediately after the earthquake when I was diagnosed to have cataracts. I was standing on a parking lot of the ophtahlmologist helplessly watching the power line poles or the other structures swaying heavily. On the other day, I fell down on the stairs and got a bad sprain on my left knee. With carelessness, I have met a traffic accident. And so on. I am not proud of these aging phenomena. But I knew it was the time to downsize or quit my work. If I should go on in the same way, I might make a mistake or an error irredeemable in my private life or in my work. That was the main reason why I decided to retire by next April. Fortunately, a pediatrician would take over my business. I would go on working in parttime at this office. What would wait for me in retirement? Travelling, gardening, cooking or studying social sciences. Whatever it may be, I am sure I will enjoy it. Yes, I am planning travelling to Seattle with my wife next July, where W7 FOC event will be held. I am looking forward seeing old friends there.
In addition to my retirement plan, I am still hopeful for my family in the future. Our children, two of them studying medicine and nursing, respectively, are getting on their own way. The elder son is rehabilitating for social life after having had some mental problem away from home. Our daughter, a nursing student, is coming home every weekend and is a cheering flower to us. The second son is still studying medicine in Fukushima despite of the radiation problem. He is struggling with the the voluminous knowledge of anatomy etc for now.
I am at the entrance of senior age now. I should be ready for that. A poem by Robert Browning, "Grow Old", could be a motto for me at this time of my life. I don't believe in God as Christianity advocates but still believe in the existence of supreme power in the universe.
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith 'A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all nor be afraid!I wish you all the best for the holiday seasons and the upcoming new year.