Sakaye Taguma: 4/20/13-7/16/13

August 3, 2013 at 1:17 am (Uncategorized)

They say that the 7 Stages of Grief are as follows:

1)      Shock and denial

2)      Pain and guilt

3)      Anger and bargaining

4)      Depression, reflection, loneliness

5)      The upward turn

6)      Reconstruction and working through

7)      Acceptance and hope

[#2] Although living with regret is no way to live, there is only one thing I would change if I could. I was up in Sacramento for Father’s day dim sum with my Chinese side of the family and I had the opportunity to stop by my Oba-chan’s place to say hi before returning back to the Bay to catch my flight…but I decided not to. I wanted to go home and see some old friends before my flight instead. That would have been the last time (my sister and) I could have seen my Baba since I (we) live in Los Angeles now. Now the last time I saw her was when I returned home for Chinese New Year’s in February and the last time I spoke with her was on her birthday in April.

My Oba-chan (grandmother in Japanese) passed away on July 16th, 2013. Born April 20, 1931, she died at age 82. Although today (August 2nd, 2013) was her funeral, I think I am still in shock and denial [#1].  With the whole family over at my late Oji-chan and Ba-chan’s house, it just feels like Baba is just resting somewhere and is bound to pop out at any moment with an “oh, okaerinasai!” (“Welcome home”). She was too genki (healthy) to have passed away this suddenly. How could she leave us like this? What are we supposed to do without the rock of our family? We’re not ready for this! [#3] We take so much for granted in this family. Now that she’s gone, we’re slowly realizing everything that she did on a day-to-day basis. The thing that’s really bewildering is how she tended to all of the trees, plants and farming around the property. There’s so much growing and not a single sprinkler system in sight! To water everything by hand would literally take hours to complete, and that is what she did every day.

It’s really insane how much one small woman could do for the entire family – her own children and her children’s children, not to mention all of her late husband’s extended family and the community around her. At her funeral and reception, I was bewildered by how many people showed up to remember, grieve, and pray for my Oba-chan.  A funeral at 1pm on a Friday in Sacramento would require lots of these folks to take the day off – and that’s exactly what they did. The place was full of people that my Oba-chan in some way shape or form touched and left a lasting impression on. She meant so much to so many people, and it was really amazing and heartwarming to witness. I only hope that I will be half as good of a woman that she was. [#7]


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