My father served in the Navy in Japan for four years. He loved it there. I was thirteen when my brother went into the Navy. After basic training, he was sent to Japan, where he promptly fell in love and married a Japanese national. He was stationed there for twenty of the next twenty five years of his career. This was before the internet. FaceTime wasn’t even a glimmer in anyone’s eye. Phones still had a cord you plugged into a wall, which limited your movement, and often, your privacy. Phone calls to other cities, states and countries were considered “long distance”. The longer the distance, the more expensive they were. On the rare occasion we called my brother we were charged ten cents a minute. That can add up quickly! I never really got to know my brother as a teenager or adult. Sure, he had to come home every few years, and I always made it a point to go home when he was there, but by that time the distance had been solidified even in relationship.
It’s been twenty five years since my brother retired and moved back to the states. He lives a six hour drive away, but he may as well still be in Japan. The relationship is what it is, which is minimal. Welcome 2013. When our daughter graduated from college, she moved to Japan to marry her college sweetheart, a Japanese National she attended college with. Next August will be her ten year anniversary for living there. When she told us she was moving to Japan, I was devastated. I had already lost one family member to that country, now I was losing another. In my pain, I questioned her decision when we spoke. Looking back, I am sure my questions hurt her. She assured me with the words I’m sure she thought I wanted to hear. “It’s not like I’ll never come back”. I think maybe she was talking about visiting, whereas I figured she was talking about moving back. Either way, in my mind, I already knew the outcome of this rodeo. I’d been down this path once before, and I lost my brother. Now I was losing my daughter.
As I said before, when my brother was in Japan, communication options were limited. Today, we have texting and face time. Our daughter has been amazing at keeping in touch with both. Pictures are regularly sent our way of the family, and we get to talk to her and her boys a couple times a month. I have cherished every text, every picture sent, every call. But I miss real face time.
Which brings me to today. My 84 year old father and I made the long journey to go visit. This will probably be his last visit to a country he adores. Not because he is dying, but because at his age, the long trip wreaks havoc with his arthritic knees, and being awake for 24 hours is tough on the mind and body. This is my fifth trip here. To date I have been blessed to have the resources to make the trip. However, with the economic turn in the U.S., my hubby’s work/income has been reduced dramatically, and I am going back to work to help make ends meet. Hopefully this will be temporary, but I am prepared if it is not. Japan was never been a country I wanted to visit. Italy and Israel call to me. But, those have been put on a back burner, because my daughter is more important, and I want her to know that.
Someday, I’ll go to Italy and Israel. Maybe my honey and I will go with our daughter and her honey when the boys are grown. Maybe.
Someday, I hope my daughter will forgive me for the hurt I imposed on her, because of my own hurt. The year 2022 has been full of learning how to really let go of those things which are not mine to carry, how to accept the things I cannot change, how to take care of myself, and so much more. I hope that the new year will bring you the opportunity to change, and to grow as a human. And that you can learn to release your worry and cares, and just be in the moment that you have been blessed with. Because life, is a series of moments.