Saturday, July 30, 2011

Be your song and rock on!

I've been on hiatus. In May I went to Japan to visit my mom and family.  It was not a planned trip.  There is nothing more aching than to hear the news - "you need to come."  My mother had been diagnosed with lung cancer in January.  Of course, these things always happen at the most inopportune moments. I had just started a new job that I was {and still am} excited about but there had been a lot of transition in personnel {basically me running a one-man show} and I was inundated with work. And now to drop everything for basically about two weeks to go to Japan to see my dying mother...  Financially, this couldn't have come at a worse time {I have been struggling to make ends meet ever since I lost my "corporate" gig in 2008}.  But I went.  I went for so many reasons.  It was a trip of a life time.  Vacation time? No.  But meaningful family time? {yes}  Just doing everyday things with my sister and mom.  My mother lived a traditional (maybe old-fashion) japanese lifestyle.  I'm really not sure...{me being born and raised in the US} but it was interesting.  She lived in a tiny little house with tatami flooring and the rice paper doors that slide.  No shoes in the house simply because it would destroy the flooring. The days were simple.  We would wake up in the morning after sleeping on what seemed to be luxurious piles of softness...each night we would pull out these beautiful futon sets to sleep on {it really was kind of like a slumber party} but it was a way of life for my mom. So we would have to rollup the futons and put them away.  The japanese really understand form and function.  Everything has a place and purpose. Then we would fix a simple breakfast, do some laundry {laundry machine is outside and there is no dryer so everything must be hung to dry - requires weather management skills}.  Watching movies in the afternoon or venturing to the local market in walking distance.  What a blast to shop in a little tiny market using pictures to guide you {since I barely can say a japanese phrase never mind read it --- hiragana, katakana, kanji -- I know the terms but that's about it}.  It took my sister and I two hours to do a simple bit of grocery shopping.  We returned to an upset mother worried that we got lost. {What took you so long? my mother exclaimed with the most serious and stern look -- my sister and I laughed so hard -- some things never change}.  We saw the most interesting things at the market and then of course we had our grocery list.  The trip felt more like a scavenger hunt than grocery shopping.  Some afternoons were spent at the doctor's.  I must say that language translation is the toughest when speaking in medical terms.  The patient young doctor really spent extra time with us and I felt so grateful that my mother was receiving such wonderful care.  One afternoon, one of my aunts stopped by and brought us the most wonderful lunch.  She owns a sushi restaurant and she had her chef prepare it -- amazingly fresh and beautiful and delicious. We did get out a little bit.  We visited some beautiful gardens with my cousin in Japan, went to the local mall and had a wonderful dinner with my mother's family -- my mother's three sisters, their daughters and the daughter's children.  It was a feast with lots of laughter and picture taking {I think there may have been more cameras than people in the room -- hmmmm -- this must be where I get my love of photography}.  Anyhow, it was a wonderful visit.  On June 26, my mother passed away.  I've been very sad...there are absolutely no words that can truly describe loss.  But I've kept my mojo on in spite of it all.  Doing my best with my 'day' job, still creating beautiful canvases at client requests and recently did my first photo shoot for a marketing package I am creating for a client who is a singer/songwriter. I had so much fun! I took some fun shots of his guitar to use in his marketing design.  Fell in love with a particular shot of his guitar and creatively played with the image.  As I was playing this quote popped into my head...I thought it was perfect.  "Be your song and rock on!"  I always tell my children to do the things that make your heart sing.  Life is short make it count!

Love and gratitude,