Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall
Into each life some rain must fall....
It's been many soooo long since I updated this blog! Is it closed? Is that the end?
Never never! I love reading this blog, and I realized in order to have something to read, I have to write something every now and then.
What a pain! ;)
I was also having a bit of an identity crisis, thinking this blog name no longer applies to me.
I really don't feel like a "Little Gaijin" anymore, being 34, having a kid, having lived in Japan for 10 years (congrats me! :)).
I am still not as good at Japanese as a native speaker, but I really lost that 'gaijin vibe' long ago, getting a little closer to the jaded expat mindset. Oh dear. I should really work on that, I don't want to wind up like Japan-hating "debito" on the Japan Times.
But anyways. There is another reason I haven't been updating .. I kept having small personal setbacks.
Every month there would be a little demotivator. I tried joining an open source project and contribute to a team, but I found out the hard way I didn't have time to do it, and had to bow out in shame. When finally I was given interesting projects at work, I would work on it just long enough to become passionate about it, when it would be taken away.
Then to add injury to insult, I had a miscarraige at eight weeks!
Combined with working full time and taking care of a toddler, I just didn't have the energy or the topics I wanted to write about. Or, I had depressing topics that I wanted to write about, but didn't want to read about later or pass on to anyone else.
"I'll wait until later," I'd think, then I'd put it off. Another little problem or unhappiness later, I'd put off blogging again. Who wants to read about that stuff. People want to read fun and funny anecdotes about the good times. I'll wait until then.
But then, on February 21 Japan time, I got a phone call.
On February 19, US time, Dad didn't come home from work.
He was in the middle of server maintenance, on call, running to catch the train home.
He didn't make it out of the train station.
Mom and Ellen were called to the emergency room, told nothing specific, only to come.
I got that phone call from Ellen on February 21st telling me that dad had a heart attack in SF CalTrain terminal.
I guess you can say I've been in a state of denial and sometimes shock, ever since.
The only thing going through my mind, for the longest time, is
"What the fuck. I don't get it. Does not compute. He was fifty-five. How is that even possible"
The coroner's office kept the body an extra week to do an autopsy to rule out any foul play, because it was such strange circumstances.
Finally when they gave us the medical report, they said it was a hypertensive heart attack, caused by years of high blood pressure.
He had a stroke five years ago, but since then he had been careful to bring his blood pressure down. We thought he was fine as long as he was careful.
He had even had a medical exam ONE WEEK before he had his heart attack. The only thing they had found was that he had gluten intolerance!
Compounding my disbelief was the fact that he was an organ donor, so they didn't let anyone identify the body. I wasn't told the exact details but it seems that he was already dead by the time he had gotten to the hospital, so they decided to harvest the organs right away.
He had his phone and wallet and keys and company ID badge. Apparently that was all they needed. And they didn't want to further traumatize mom and ellen, so no one who knew him even saw him pass.
This is your brain on denial:
"So that was probably, like maybe not even him! Right?
Right now Dad could be wandering the world, like a character in a novel, the body someone else's. Maybe he was actually a spy! Maybe his IDs were passed off at the last minute to fool us all...!"
... that sure beats thinking about the alternative, that an apparently healthy middle aged man could have a heart attack on a random Friday and leave us all bewildered, licking our wounds, left with no one to blame or outlet for anger the unfairness of the situation.
It's hard to talk about. Unfairness is isolating. Friends want to comfort, so they call on that old tried-and true nugget: "It could have been worse".
Yeah, there were a lot of ways the situation could be worse. I don't really want to think about them, but I know they are there. Like those lucky people who got the organs of a man who didn't drink or smoke or take drugs other than blood pressure meds. But I want to be selfish for a second. I'm sure those are deserving people, but really, I don't care about them right now. I want my dad back.
Or another friend, relating the story of how his family was torn into a bitter feud over inheritance and care for elderly relatives. It was easy for us, we're scared for mom and want every drop of benefits to go to her.
But in the end, I don't care about those ways, I don't want to look for a silver lining of a cloud that is raining icy sleet.
Sooner or later I will be able to appreciate that lining. I will be able to let go. I will write a blog about the man who raised me and introduced me to my profession, who had a kind side and a snide side and was known for his sweaters and distintive facial hair. But for now, let me hang on to my grief and disbelief a little longer. Let me process this, think of why it could have happened.
Let me walk a bit, until my feet get me out of the rain.