The fourth Sunday of July is Oyako Day

Oyako Day Essay Contest 2008 Winners

Olympus Prizes
Voice Trek DS-60
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Benesse Prize
Naoshima Benesse House
(1 night accommodations for 3 people)

Trinityline Prize
Trinityline Skin Care Set
Epson Compact Printer E-520
The Mainichi Newspapers Prize
"Mottainai" furoshiki (traditional Japanese wrapping cloth)
"Oyabaka Power" Prize
"Oyabaka Power" book with artist's signature
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A child's thanksby Kimie
Last summer, I got this email from my mother saying, “I’m coming over to your place right now”. I hadn’t been seeing my mother much since my marriage, but this really didn’t sound like her. And then, there was my father who had shown up at my desk at the travel agency where I work. He just said, “You should come by to see us sometime”. I didn’t think anything special about it at the time, just said “OK, I will,” and he was on his way. Thirty minutes after my mother’s email, she showed up at my doorstep, bearing gifts of fresh fish salad over rice and a box of cakes. We chattered on as we always do. She was as bright and as cheerful as ever. Talking along like that I completely forgot to ask her why she had suddenly rushed over to see me. I was stretching out across the tatami when my mother announced, “There’s something I have to tell you.” “What, what happened? What is it?” Between fear of what was coming and my desire to know, I’d raised my voice to press my mother. “The truth is that I’ve got cancer. But I’m on medication and everything will be fine, so you shouldn’t worry,” she said. I really couldn’t understand at first. “Mommy don’t die,” I burst out through my tears. “But no, I’m fine,” she said smiling. She should have been shattered but she was laughing warmly as always. “I guess I’ve shocked you. I’m so sorry,” she added.

One year after this scene, after going through both chemotherapy and an operation, my mother is holding my two months old son. I am grateful to her for finding the strength to be well again. I thank her for being here to be a grandmother. I remember how I burst out crying and the strength in my mother’s smiling voice saying it was fine. When I look at my son, I seem to feel the seed of that same strength in myself.
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One head for two hatsby Naoto Nishi
“You either listen or you get locked out of the house!”
Hearing this always makes four year old Achan so mad at his mother.
When mom’s lightening finally strikes, even I get pulled into the fray: “You won’t do it again, right? Say you’re sorry.” But even this plea at the threshold can’t wrest a stay of execution for a crying Achan.
“Mind your own business, Daddy,” says Mom, getting mad at me too.
Everyone calls Achan a Daddy’s Boy. When he gets thrown out, he almost always spends his time there sitting in my lap.

Then, one time I got back from an office party in the middle of the night.
That morning, it was “Getting drunk and breaking curfew, you are out of here!”
The sight of my hangover had called down mama’s lightening. Achan was making signs to me from across the room, his face lit up with joy. “What do you mean?” I said to Mama while slipping across to join Achan. A small hand grabbed on to my wrist and led me to the front door where Achan announced, “You either listen or you get locked out of the house!”
The really scary thing was that he’d copied his mother’s voice right down to the intonations. Once outside, I snuck up to the window to see what was going on inside. The two of them seemed to be enjoying themselves and were just sitting down to a cheery breakfast.
A while later I heard the sound of the front door opening. Achan came out.
“You won’t do it again, right. Say you’re sorry.”
If you could have seen me then, my face was a sea of perplexity.
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The dream our children gave usby Keiki Oda
In my knees, I can still feel the weight of my sons, as they peaked past me with bated breath at animals in the wild. In my back, I can still feel them squirming to see all the beautiful flowers. In my eyes, I carry the brightness of my wife and my sons sharing the stars in the nights’ skies. For each and all of these things, and for all they have brought to me and to my wife, I am grateful.

Our two sons, who revealed to us the pleasures of raising children, have now left home to follow their dreams, one to Kyoto and one to Hokkaido, where they are reveling in their life as University students. Now that my wife and I find ourselves alone together again, we sometimes have long talks punctuated with sighs about why living with these two children was such a thrill for us.

We tried to instill them with a deep love of nature. From the time they were very young, plans for yearly camping and ski trips turned out to be wonderful experiences for them to appreciate nature. We always made time for our sons and they learned in our family that saying you’re tired from work when your children need you is nothing but an empty excuse.

We spent many happy hours with our sons pooling ideas, making collections, keeping wild animals, observing and making things. Animals in cages and cases cluttered our house. I still laugh over my wife’s playful expression when she would regularly pass them in review and complain about weak points in our unnatural habitats. It’s important to stimulate a child’s sensibilities, and it turned out that making such occasions gave us all a chance to learn. When we were young we found things everyday that excited and charmed us. Bringing up children is full of the same discoveries, and we can learn right along with our kids.

When, as high school students, our sons started coming up with requests like, “Could you take us to Haku Mountain, we want to see what alpine plants are like” and “I want to check how highways through mountain valleys deal with embankments. Can we go for a drive through them?” I just thought, “YES! This is it!” and jumped for joy.

Learning and growing with your children is such a joy. Now our sons are off at college, and my wife and I are looking forward to all that they will bring home to us. It’s an important step for the whole family.
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Wild animals across the broad plainsby Yuzuko
Whenever I looked out at the horizon, I always thought, “I want to live free”. Whenever I looked out on a gentle rain, I thought, “I want to do what I feel like doing.”

But, it’s hopeless. Why is it hopeless? Because I have a couple of wild animals at the house. I can’t take my eyes off them for a second. Given these special circumstances, I have a mission of the utmost importance, a solemn duty and a great responsibility. The particular species of wild animal we’re dealing with here is my two sons. So I am up everyday losing my temper, covering them with jeers and brandishing my whips with cracks and slaps. If you think it sounds terrifying, I’d be the first to agree. But these wild things pay absolutely no attention to anything I say. No matter how extreme my words get, it’s like a far off wind blowing across the wide world of some deep eternity, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It has no effect. They are like wild animals living on the broad plains of Mongolia.

I give up! Both mind and body are totally used up. I fry and I grill but it’s barely hit the plate when it’s gone. I make mountains and mountains of rice that are downed to the last grain. I wash and I wash, but when I turn around another mound of dirty clothes has come up from the depths. I pick up and I put away, but every time I go to their room it looks like a crime scene. Each day is filled with the clatter and clunk of noises that never stop. I was a fool to want to train a wild hippopotamus and a gorilla. I’m close to believing that humans are the dumbest of all living things.

And then, one Sunday when I was totally at the end of my rope, I just couldn’t wake up and slept on and on, well into the morning. When I finally woke up, panicked and ran out of my room, I found my two savages frying eggs, making toast and pouring tea. “This tea is your favorite, isn’t it, Mama?” And here was a full pot of my favorite Earl Grey. When had my wild ones turned to be such gentlemen? Sometime, before I could even notice, they had transformed themselves into a pair of sensitive young boys. So, while sipping my tea, I decided to take some time off, out on the broad plains of Mongolia.
Benesse PrizeNaoshima Benesse House (1 night accommodations for 3 people)
Tee for threeby Takashi Ishizu
Recently, I started playing golf. When I meet friends or associates, I often mention it. I’ll say, “You know, I’ve started playing golf,” and they almost invariably reply, “Really, I would never have thought of you as a golfer.” It’s true that I never saw myself as a golfer either, so it seems that everyone agrees on that point.
Back when I was a salaried employee, I was always getting invited out for some golfing, but I invariably refused. These days, if I can just find a moment, I’m off to the driving range. My life as a’s even stranger how it all got started. It happened when I was out together with my father and my son, who was then in kindergarten, and my son had this problem.
“If Gramps is my grandfather, is he yours too?” he asked. Apparently, my son was having trouble figuring out the exact relation between Grandpa and me.
If it was easy enough for him to understand who Mom and Dad were, I could see how grandfathers and grandmothers might need some thought. When I answered, “Grandpa is your father’s father,” my son looked up with the a look of utter shock and replied, “No! He can’t be your father!”
I was wondering what was so difficult to understand, when my son, on the edge of tears, blurted out, “You always hold my hand, but Grandpa doesn’t hold yours. If he’s your father he should hold your hand just like you and me!” My son seemed to feel that being a father was about holding hands.

Hemmed in between a son’s pained expression and a grandson’s touching words, my father and I timidly joined hands. In the years since I had last held hands with father, a rugged man’s hand had become a Grandfather’s wrinkled one. I was so startled that I felt I was going to cry. That stubborn and vibrant man, my father, was now old, and the moment I realized it, I wanted to spend more time with him, even if only a little. Since I am not a drinker, what I found to bring us together was golf.

These days, going out on the green for a couple of holes has become a kind of golden time for us. Usually, I should be beating him by brute force (I get the long drives!) but there is nothing like those old hands for making a miracle shot. My current crusade is to win. And I have only my son to thank for this mission of happiness.
Trinityline PrizeTrinityline Skin Care Set
On objects, unidentified and sometimes flyingby Ototsuki
When my son was around two and just beginning to work his vocabulary, he made incredible efforts to make conversation with his limited set of tools. One day:
“Mamaaa, today, I saw UFO.”
...What!? What in the world. It was just such a totally unexpected thing to hear. My heart was pounding. I put my hand to my chest as I answered, “UFO? You saw a UFO? Where did you see a UFO?”
“At the park. I was with the red team’s Yusuke and Haruki and our teacher.”
My son liked to elongate syllables for emphasis. So to give his description the full measure of its emotion, he added, “Rouuuuund and rouuuuund and rouuuuund and rouuuuund.” Pursing his lips and raising a fatty little child’s hand, he started waving his fist around, saying, “Weee, it’s a UFO, look at the UFO!”
So I asked, “Was there anybody in it”
In answer to my cautious question, my son blurted out, “Two men.”
That was the best, so funny I just burst out laughing.

The day after, when I learned the shocking truth from the kindergarten teacher, my original amusement passed to hilarity. What my son had seen the day before was a construction site and the people who were working there. The UFO was a Caterpillar Tractor with two workmen on it. That was the whole story. When I started to explain it all to the teacher, I really didn’t expect her to laugh, so I took a very objective tack. But, the whole thing was so ridiculous from the UFO right through to the unexpected Caterpillar ending, that we both ended up in hysterics. How often do we get such a chance to laugh? Believe me, my cheeks were sore the next day. I like so much to laugh. After that, whenever my son cocked his head to say something, I started to smile.

When you smile just cause your son has something to say, and when he smiles back just cause he’s seen you, not counting all the great laughs we really did have, you really start thinking that you have the most darling, wonderful son in the world.
These tender moments will be with me forever.
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A bittersweet memoryby Hana-chan
More than twenty years ago, the summer my daughter was two, I was carrying my second child when I showed signs of miscarriage. The doctors put me in the hospital for two months of absolute rest. My mother-in-law took care of my daughter. They told me afterwards that she had been a model good girl, near heroic, waiting stoicly for my return. While I was in the hospital, I often spoke with my mother-in-law on the phone, but only once did I happen to get my daughter.
I just called up as usual and said “Hello” without thinking. The silence told me it was my daughter.
“Oh, it’s Mama! How are you, Mama?” she said.
“I’m fine” I said, but my eyes filled with tears and I couldn’t speak anymore.
The day I had been waiting and waiting for finally came. I went to my parents-in-laws’ house to get my daughter. No sooner did I step through the door then I had my daughter in my arms, crying for joy, and myself in tears from the excesss of emotion.
Today, my daughter has left home and is working, but she says she still remembers that time very clearly. “Well, I had a tough time even when I was little, didn’t I,” she’ll say, smiling.
As a mother, I’ve left my daughter with an unforgettable memory, though a bittersweet one.
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Family tiesby Masami Okada
We’re all women in this house. I divorced ten years ago and live together with my two daughters. The elder is 13 and the younger one 10. Both of them are still growing up.
Bringing up the kids, doing the housework and holding down a job can get to be quite a tall order. Sometimes I get in a bad mood. Sometimes I blow up. Here’s something that happened recently.

It started when my older daughter said, “Mom, if there is something wrong, you should talk about it.” She had noticed that I was out of sorts. Because they’re children, we think we should, as parents, keep up a front and never show our weaknesses. I thought this was obvious, but my daughter had another idea.

“If something terrible happens, it gets smaller if we share it among the three of us. If something wonderful happens, it gets three times as big.” I’d never thought I’d hear something like this from my daughter. I’d always thought there was a line drawn between parent and child, and it was a line that shouldn’t be crossed over. But, I suddenly realized that at the most human level, if we need to reach out to them as equals, then we should be able to. Parenting can be hard. It can be exhausting. When I began asking myself if my daughters weren’t carrying the weight for an absent husband, it made me cry.

We say that children learn from watching how their parents live. I finally realized that that didn’t mean they can’t deal with things, that at least I should try talking things over with them. So I decided to make a new start, as a family of three on a more equal playing field.

These days when we come home, we trade stories about the day we’ve had. It has brought us close together. Sometimes we quarrel. And sometimes they give me the kind of advice that only my children could give. They really understand me and know just how to pinpoint the problem. I value this time more than anything else and hope we will always be this close.
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Hidden charmsby Kaori Yokota
I must have been four or five when I got curious about the little drawstring pouches that good luck charms come in and furtively opened one. Why the secrecy? I guess because I felt I was trespassing. What was in there? I have no clear recollection. Something small, like a small golden Buddha, it seemed to me. Anyway, a while after that, there was a lucky charm fad and all us kids were making them. I made a pouch out of paper, folded a golden helmet out of a sheet of gold origami paper and put it in the pouch. I called this a good luck charm and gave it to my parents.

Ten years later, when I was in High School, all recollection of this lucky charm was lost on the other side of memory. Then one day when I was with my mother I asked her out of the blue if she remembered it. She showed me a formless scrap of paper covered with yellowed scotch tape and said, “Your father said it would protect him from car accidents and has had it in his wallet ever since.” Knowing my father, he probably just stuck it in his wallet without thinking but at the time I was deeply touched. Whether or not my father was equally touched I couldn’t say, since all I knew was that he had known and touched this little luck charm. I suppose I could have talked about it with my father, but I just never got around to it.

Time went on and my father passed away. There was no sign of my handmade charm in the last wallet he kept. In the end, we never ever talked about the good luck charm. But then, I think it’s fine that way. Like what’s hidden inside of the pouch, just being able to touch it and to know it’s there is enough.
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Constance is a promiseby Mimitan
My mother’s stomach sticks out, but her posture is perfect. When she’s on her scooter, she reminds me of one of my old schoolgirl friends, and people sometimes make fun about how straight she sits.

Mom would come back from work everyday with plastic bags from the supermarket stowed in the front and in the back of her bike. When we heard the puttering of the scooter, my younger sister and I used to run out to meet her. “Hi Mom! Anything good in the bags?” As soon as we got our hands on them, we’d rustle around in the bags looking for what was good. We loved our little treasure hunt and an apple or a pack of yogurt would make our day. Mom would be smiling over our shoulders and say “Don’t spoil your dinner!”
One day our mother didn’t show up at the appointed hour. I remember it was a day with a beautiful sunset. Back then there were no mobile phones, so our hearts just sank with the sun.
“Do you think Mama had an accident?”
“What if she never comes home?” Both of us were on the verge of tears by the time Mama pulled in with her bike, loaded up even more than usual. It looked like our treasure hunt had just gotten a bit late, but before we knew it, we had our arms wrapped around her tummy and were whining, “Why are you home so late? We thought you were dead!” We both burst into tears.
“I’m not about to do anything like dying, so please calm down.”
“Please don’t die Mama!”
Hugging us she said, “I’m not going anywhere until you both grow up.”
“We don’t care if we’re big. You can never leave us!”
We desperately linked pinkies to make the sign of a promise, and then went on, doing the same with index, ring and thumb just to be sure.

This experience, when our mother didn’t come home as usual, made my sister and I think about our mother’s eventual death for the first time. That’s why we were so very afraid. But clinging, as we did, to her soft belly and feeling her warmth brought us back to ourselves by pushing all the shadows off to another time.

Today, my mother has become a grandmother and doesn’t ride scooters anymore. Now she comes to visit her grandchildren on foot carrying bags of food and toys hung from both right shoulder and left. “Sooo good!” chortles my daughter of two while her 11 months old brother looks up and smiles. And my mother looks back at them with the same joyful eyes she used to watch my sister and I with.

For this mother who stood by my side till I found my own warm nest to feed in, I give thanks. Someday, if my children fall into the same deep anguish I once felt with my sister and start to cry, I will promise to be with them till they grow up just as you did to us, and hug them with all my forces. One thing though, I think I’ll try to avoid the big belly if I can.
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The hoe my father gave meby Masao Fujii
A half a century ago, when I was starting the second semester of my junior year of high school, I slipped from a general slump in my grades to total denial of school. One morning I said I was off to school but spent the day at the local library before coming home at my usual time. On the fourth day of this, my new truancy, I thought through things carefully and made up my mind to stop school altogether. That very night, as soon as my brothers were all asleep, I went to tell my father. My father didn’t seem greatly disturbed by my announcement, nor did he scold me, but said, “Maybe you can make it work, but please go to school for one more month before stopping. And this time, I want you to try as hard as you can to do everything there is at school. After that, if you still want to stop school, you can come and help me with the family business. The thing is, I don’t have some great estate that, once divided between my seven children, would still mean something. But, as long as you want to study, you can ask me for anything, I will do everything in my power to give it to you. Going to university is a legacy I can leave to all of you.”

A month later, I was so involved in my life as a high school student that I’d totally forgotten about my resolution to leave school. My father had graduated from night school while holding down a day job. He started his first company when he was 26 and grew up with his business. His words that night became my own greatest legacy. Takamori Saigo had the following precept, “Avoid buying rich fields for your descendants.” And said, “When you leave an estate, your descendants will be easily lulled into idleness, so this should be avoided.”

My father didn’t buy us any rich fields, but preferred to give us each a hoe. I think he believed it was better for each of us to break the ground and plant our own fields. As for myself, if I have been able to get as far as I have today, I feel that it’s because of that hoe. And I too have bought no fields for my children, but rather passed my worn hoe along to them. Now they are working hard with it to bring up their own fields.
The Mainichi Newspapers Prize"Mottainai" furoshiki (traditional Japanese wrapping cloth)
Best friend !by Junko Saito
When my daughter was in college, she came by one day and said she wanted my old coat. When I answered, “No way, I’m still wearing it,” she said, “I guess I’ll have to wait till you’re dead”, as if she were some jaded gravedigger. “Well then, you can have it when I’m dead. And good riddance!” I answered, sidestepping my daughter’s affront.

Once, on a night when we were on our yearly pilgrimage to the local park for cherry blossom viewing, she asked me if I was happy to be back again this year and still in good health. Her arms were locked in mine and she was looking straight ahead. I said to her, “If I live till I’m 75, I can come here another 25 times. When I think of it that way I get sad. But then you probably don’t understand what I feel, do you?” “That’s right. I don’t.” she said with a smile.

When she came home at all hours of the night, again and again and again, and I finally told her to straighten up, she answered that she’d had enough of my homespun rules. Adding that she was a workingwoman, old enough to know what she was doing and doing what she wanted to do. All I could say was, “Right...”

Then, I was called in for a cancer exam. On the way out to get the results from the secondary, follow-up examinations, I found a note on the door, written in luminescent green. “You’ll be all right”, she’d written, before taking off to work. Maybe I couldn’t figure her out, but I was touched by her thoughtfulness and her style. “That’s my girl”, I thought, leaving the house. You’re really are such a wonderful daughter.

“I think I’ll get married next year” was the new refrain from my work-stressed and ever irritable daughter. When I ventured that maybe she might want to save up a little more money first, she fired back, “Father and you started from zero, didn’t you? And since I’m sure I can be even happier than you were, there’s no problem.” With such a serious face that all I could say was “Right...”

My daughter’s 25 now. I regret that her upbringing was a bit rough. I slapped her for the last time when she was in ninth grade. That’s three years later than her brother. Recently she’s become quite agreeable and stopped arguing all the time. Parents inevitably bring their children up according to their own ideals, but I wonder if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. No matter how hard you try, there’s no way to get through twenty some odd years with nothing but fair winds and full sails. It’s only now that I feel our relation is on an even keel. It’s only now that I can freely say “Right!!” Perhaps this daughter and mother have both graduated from “Family 101”. When were together, I feel strangely fulfilled. I wonder if I’m the only one?
The Mainichi Newspapers Prize"Mottainai" furoshiki (traditional Japanese wrapping cloth)
Lettersby Nozomi Hashimoto
There was a letter from mother.
It’d been a while since her last, and here is another, speaking of day to day things in the country.

Blue skies over the mountains,, Grandma is getting along, just as busy as ever, may every day bring you happiness: these Images from back home float through my mind. Since I came to Osaka to go to college, my mother’s letters have always been the same. I haven’t thrown a single one away. I keep them preciously bundled together inside a red pouch with Snoopy on the front. It is stuffed full, now the size of a small package.

Looking through them, I think again about how little they have changed. Be happy, enjoy life, be yourself. For more than six years, she has been thinking and wishing these things for me. Leafing through the letters, a ten thousand yen bill suddenly comes flying out of them. Mom usually uses two pages of writing paper for her letters, so I guess that it just got trapped in there. Thank you I thought, touched with a pang of homesickness, the same one I always feel when I read her letters.

I put my hands together in a prayer of thanks. Taking up my pouch, I added this day’s letter.
The Mainichi Newspapers Prize"Mottainai" furoshiki (traditional Japanese wrapping cloth)
The valley of no returnby Hojo Yayoi
Dinner was ready.
I’d made beef stew, my kids’ top favorite.
Let’s check the living room...1, 2, 3,..!?
One missing.
Looking at my younger son, “Could you get your brother down here for dinner?”
“Yes Sir! As you order, Sir!!”
No need to be so theatrical.
........10 minutes later and still no one here. From the children’s room to the dining room was not a 10 minute trip. It’s not like we’re living in a Palace and they had to come in from the West Wing.
OK, a second emissary.
Looking at my younger daughter, “Could you get your brothers to the table?”
“Your wishes are my command.”
Just an ordinary “Yes” would have sufficed.
...5 more minutes...nobody.
Damn, dinner’s getting cold. I hear them laughing upstairs, and I’m getting angry.
My older daughter, who seemed to have gotten the message, was standing up to go.
That’s my girl, get ‘em back here.
“Mother says that dinner is ready!” I hear from above.
Such authority in a young girl.
...?, but,..isn’t that her I hear laughing with the others now?
So, what is it that is so much more attractive than my stew?
“Should have taken things in my own hands from the beginning,” I thought as I mounted the stairs. I suppose they’re all into some game.
Peeking into the room I see them gathered around a photo album.
The old red album of my photos when I was young.
“This is you isn’t it, Mama?”
“Which one? Oh that, that’s when I was 22”
“Why’s your hair done up like a rooster up front?”
“Oh that, that was the fashion at the time.”
“You look wieeeerd.” And I guess I do (laughing).
And there I was on the floor right along with them, looking at old photos and forgetting dinner.
“Mom, I’m hungry,” announces my younger daughter.
The small look of shock on my face sends the room into hysterics.
It was the valley of no return, and we’d all been swallowed into it.
"Oyabaka Power" Prize"Oyabaka Power" book with artist's signature
Father’s tearsby Syun Yamaichi
Her voice faltering, my grandmother said to me,
“With such a wonderful smile, you’re quite the young man now”

Grandma fainted for the first time at the end of last year, then again in less than two months. They told us she had had a stroke. They had also said her prognosis was very poor. In spite of her condition, she had ventured a haggard smile when she saw me with my parents.

It was my grandmother on my father’s side, but even though it was his mother, my father couldn’t seem to stay in the room for long, always returning almost immediately to the sofa in the hospital hallway. My mother was a bit shocked by his behavior, but I think I know what he felt. I felt the same way: this just wasn’t where grandma belonged.

Until she had this stroke, grandma had had such a healthy life, going out everyday to work her heart out in the fields. When we went to visit her on New Year’s day every year, she had such a beaming face that she came on younger than me. That’s who my grandmother had always been for me, and that’s why I felt so uneasy with her at this hospital. Watching her lose weight, search for words and forget her own name left me without words. There had never been anything infirm about my grandmother. I never wanted to see her this way.

When my father waves me over to the sofa, it’s just to go out to the courtyard for a walk. He has nothing special to say, but just as I know what he must be feeling, perhaps he is looking over me in the same way. Or maybe he is just reluctant for me to see his own mother in her present state. Once out in the courtyard, all the two of us do is sit on a bench there. It’s such a hot day. We both just sit there until we can’t stand the heat any longer. Then my father stands up and we return to the sofa where he’d been.

When I went back to my Grandmother’s room, the same bad feelings came over me. To hide my discomfort, I decided to smile. I couldn’t do anything to really help my Grandmother, but at least I could do this. I guess my Grandmother had been watching me, because when I was about to go home she said. “With such a wonderful smile, you’re quite the young man now,” and smiled back at me. Once again, there was nothing I could say, so smiled all the more.

The day my Grandmother died I heard my father crying at night. This man who I had always seen as taciturn and unmoved was crying out loud. I listened and seemed to learn something of death and something about families. The day both my father and mother are gone, the day our family dies, won’t I, just like my father, cry out through the night?