Wednesday, February 19, 2014

World outside

The world is scary to me right now, I feel like I lost a humongous part within me.

The days are spent slowly and carefully, doing what I can to get by and I am still in the dark.
I have no idea what to do or feel next.

I felt like this song gave me a sort of a nice optimistic refreshing perspective to what is happening to me though I am not ready to take action here.

Once realized, that when you get knocked down, it is your chance to get up and make it better.
There is a larger world out there than ME:

Part of your World

When's it my turn?
Wouldn't I love, love to explore that world up above?
Out of the sea
Wish I could be
Part of that world

(From "The Little Mermaid" Disney Lyrics by Howard Asman)

Friday, February 7, 2014

I gained another Angel

My childhood was rich with love and laughter due to the living situation of having my maternal grandparents under the same roof as our family, which is a common practice in our culture.
I loved my life, from what I can remember, in Japan.
I obviously was born in Tokyo and grew up there until the summer after I turned 7, when my parents and my siblings moved to Chicago.

I attended a private, Christian kindergarten from the age of 4-6, and that was our main focal point of our lives.
Being young and vibrant (48-49yo) when my older sister was born (then me, and my younger brother, all two year apart) my grandmother took a VERY active role in our lives -- my mother is an only child, so us three were her only grandkids.
She made more appearances at our kindergarten for our charity events, plays, field trips, than my own mother did, simply because while nursing my younger brother (or me, in some cases) it was easier for my grandmother to take my mother's place.
I basically had two mothers.
She taught us many things a young mother would have not had the time nor knowledge of -- Japanese tea ceremony, Japanese calligraphy, she would do flower arrangements, and kick us out of the room when she was ready to sculpt and didn't want us running around as she molded her artwork.

Every birthday and holidays were special and each one of us learned how to ride our bike in the street on the side of the parking lot we parked our small little Mazda hatchback in.
She would speed in that car so much, the car never stopped beeping since Japanese cars has a device that tells you when you are going over 100km (not 100MILES) an hour.
My grandmother would smoke non stop, drive like a maniac, show up to our plays in eccentric colored clothing, was sassy, oversized sunglasses in tow (before they were "in") and yet was such a lady, and I learned everything from her.

We moved to Chicago, but we tried to go visit or have her come visit us every so often.

Once I became a teenager I had trouble finding myself and gaining my self esteem.
I had a summer when anxiety got the best of me and I plucked out all of my eye lashes out.
It was my way of asking for help, but at the time, I had no idea.
My grandmother saw this right away, told my mother to send me to her over the summer and we spent every day together for three months, she would let me vent, cry, we fought, anything I needed to do, she let me. By the end of that summer, my lashes had grown back.

She would always tell me, "your ability to notice things - the colorful flowers on the side of the street, the animals and children, the way you are conscientious, is a gift."
She was the one who noticed I would make a great flight attendant and started sending me "The Stewardess" (I think the official name is "Air Stage") magazines from Japan when I was 16 years old.
"You would flourish in this career, you are tall, bilingual, beautiful and most of all, you notice things."

Growing up between my beautiful perfect sister and my younger brother who were both stellar academically, I always felt the "lack" of accomplishments.
She never gave up on me even when I was giving up on myself.

When I was 21, I became a flight attendant.
Once I was qualified to fly the International routes, I waited and waited until I was able to get the first flight to Japan (there were other cities available, but it was important for me to make my first International flight to Japan) and it may have been the most proud day of my life, seeing my grandmother waiting for me in the hotel lobby.
It was a gray misty day in September, she had her over sized sunglasses on, her leopard print coat on smoking her lady cigarette, when she saw me she stood up, all 5' of her, smiling ear to ear.

Some crew members and hotel staff would start to recognize her over the years, as I continued to fly the same route.
Two of my good friends actually got to meet and spend time with her, and till this day I am so glad I got to share my grandmother with them.

I left my airline 3 years ago, and those regular routes to Japan no longer part of my schedule, I had started to feel extremely guilty that I was no longer able to see her.

I also actually didn't have the heart to tell her about my change in my career, and I contemplated regarding that decision many times over in my head - but my family and I decided to let things be, and let her believe I was the same.

The news of her passing came at the worst time, my worst nightmare came true, during the work day.

I had just settled in the new catering items, and was waiting for the plane to get going -- luckily we had some time, and was not in a rush.
I noticed my phone had a message from my parents and I called back and when I heard, I broke down.

I am now taking this day by day and writing this out, selfishly, is making me feel better.
I know she was older, and I know to a degree it was something we were expecting.

They found a pile of my cards and letter I wrote to her every month, next to her bedside - which they included with when they cremated her.

I am beyond heartbroken and devastated.
I have to remind myself of what I had with her, how much extra time I got to spend with her, compared to my siblings, and I have to be thankful.
Right now, though, I am not there.