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Web Essay vol.1「Departure」

As the cherry trees blossomed, I left my hometown Amagasaki (Hyogo), headed for Tokyo.
Of course, I could have chosen to stay home and study, but at that time I felt that the only way for my life to start was to leave the comfort of my hometown.
All I had decided was to go to Tokyo, and that the only timing I could depart peacefully was at the timing of starting university.
It wasn’t that I didn’t fit at home.
I was just longing for somewhere where I would have to stand on my own two feet.
At home with my mother and four sisters, life was always merry, but somewhere in my heart I was always looking for somewhere to “belong”.

On the day of my departure, many friends from elementary school to college came to bid farewell.
My friends, who had always stood alongside me.
Receiving gifts and letters, I was on the train in a matter of moments. As soon as I left the joyous crowd and was on my train alone, I could not hold back my tears of homesickness against the silence.
My only guide ahead was the enthusiasm in my heart; I had tried for the Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music, however nothing ahead was certain.

Unlike my lighthearted friends, all my mother had said to me was to take care of myself.
My parents had divorced when I was seven, and my mother had taken care of my sisters and I, both as a father and a mother.
I came to know later on that my mother had shed tears after I had left, that I would never come home.
She had understood.
Once I had left home, I was never heading back.

Life has many farewells to bring.
A child leaving home is as much a joyful and happy farewell as it is one with many worries from the deepness of love.
The time of this farewell comes earlier than you think.

And so goes for me, too.
This time as a mother, bidding my son farewell.

I wandered life and death at giving birth to my son.
Due to toxemia during pregnancy, at the age of nine months, I had to give birth to my son, who weighed only 2110 grams by caesarean section. I was headed straight to the ICU.
A dim world of silence.
The only people who came in to my room were the angels-the nurses and doctors.
Looking up at the ceiling, connected with tubes all over, I vaguely could sense that death was right next to me.
The wonder of living-a thought came to me many times.
If I were to cease, my family would mourn. However, it would be my newborn son who would suffer the most.
It would be too much of a pity to grow up without the existence of his mother.
In a desperate thought to leave something, I had a video camera prepared and took a video message for him in the ICU.
I found out later that my family had been told to be prepared, had my blood pressure got any higher.

There are many who can mature well without children. However, for me, I had to experience it for myself.
It was harder to die and leave my son in this world than to die.
I understand that this literally doesn’t make sense, but it was my honest opinion at the time.
With a photo of my newborn son next to me, I made small targets to aim. First to have my tubes taken off one by one, then to move to the general ward, then to be able to go to the bathroom alone, then, and then, small targets, one by one.
I was living my life to the most every moment.
When I was finally allowed to share my room with my son in the general ward, it was bliss like no other. At the same time, looking at the shining life in front of me, I felt a dim horror like no other.
He was my son, and yet, at the same time, he wasn’t mine.
All I could do for him was to help him mature well, then to send him out to the society. That was the responsibility of becoming a parent.
I felt an immense feeling of thankfulness as I left the hospital, for curing me and for giving me new little life.
I cannot honestly say that our family was an ideal one, but my son grew well despite many rough turns.
That, I can say now.

My son will soon leave Japan to start a new life under a faraway sky.
It was his decision.
His life is about to really start.

So now, all I can do is to wish him the best. To live true to myself. To live in peace with those around me now. To be truly able to stand on my own two feet. That is all.
For that, I have to show an example as a mother.
My mother would always say, “Be kind to everyone. Do well to everyone. Then, my children will have good done to them too no matter how far away.”
Having business and looking after the five of us sisters would not have been an easy job. There would have been many a times of being deceived and being tried. I could never win against the eighty year old who lived through all of this without a single grudge and a simple smile.
Mother, at last, now, I can understand.

I told my son to take care of the people around him, that I will always wish him the best, that I believed in him.
This was all I could say, and I could not hold back my overflowing emotions.
As for him, all he said was “I’ll be alright. Keep getting along with dad.” And with a smile, he swiftly started walking off to his new life.
He should be fine. Children grow where parents aren’t in control.
As for me, my second life is about to begin.
All I have to do is to live my life, slowly and joyfully.