Life ... no matter where you go, there it is

I'm at "home" alone. Wondering what day it is. It feels like I've been gone a week already. And so I sit here in my haze of jetlag, pondering "life" ... I've said many times, it doesn't matter what color your skin is, what language you speak, or what food you eat ... each of us gets up in the morning and tries to get through our day. And as we get older, each day can be a little more challenging.

Shoko has gone to visit her mother. Her mother had been living with her for the past twelve years. At the urging of her daughters and some medical professionals, Shoko planned to move her mother into a "care home," as they call them in Japan, a week or so before I came to Japan.

When I arrived at Shoko's house Tuesday evening, I was no longer escorted to "my" little room at the top of the steep stairs, but to the apartment where her mother had lived --- an add on to the house with a living space, bedroom, shower, and lovely porch. She had rearranged it a bit for me ... adding a work table and place to sit and view the garden.

It's a wonderful space. I could live there. But it was bittersweet ... okaasan, as I called her, isn't there. She has been one of my adopted mothers since I lost my own. And it turns out she isn't in the care home. She's in the hospital. She fell and broke her hip. Shoko's not sure when she'll leave the hospital to go to the care home.

So Shoko and I are finding that our conversations about ourselves and our friends call for a whole new vocabulary. I may be fluent in shopping and sushi in Japanese but when it comes to talking about broken hips, neuromas and orthotics, bowel obstructions, circulation and swollen feet, nervous conditions, we are both driven to our dictionaries.

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