Wednesday, October 30, 2013

7 years

As you may all know, Japan is a huge part of my life. Heck, my blog name is even half Japanese! I feel so lucky to have this amazing culture as a part of my life. You could say I'm a little obsessed-- their technology, their food, their CLOTHES, their people, their buildings, their television, just everything is so awesome. 

Today I wanted to dedicate my blog post to a very special person who really helped keep the Japanese culture alive in my life...
My おじいちゃん。

Growing up in a very Japanese based home, it was never "Grandpa Dad's Last Name and Grandpa Mom's Maiden Name". It was always Grandpa Luke and おじいちゃん. Today marks 7 years since my おじいちゃん passed away. He was truly the nicest person I had ever known. He loved his grandchildren so so much. It was hard to not be able to see him whenever I pleased, but I was so blessed to be able to see him once a year. He was such a goofy guy! I was definitely spoiled by him... I was his first grandchild, and I feel so lucky that I got to know him for so long. 

おじいちゃん loved to call us and talk to us. Whenever there was any big event-- birthdays, holidays, etc, we got to talk on the phone with him. He would send us huge packages from Japan, filled with treats and toys and other goodies. He would record Japanese TV shows for us (SEVERAL shows, every week) and send the VCR's to us. I think that is something that really helped my siblings and me to keep up with our Japanese language. Although in the Japanese culture love and affection is not common to express... My siblings and I always just knew that he adored us all.

My おじいちゃん had some complications later in his life. Being a smoker (not uncommon in Japan), he was at high risk. He had pancreatic cancer, and had some strokes. I remember just crying in my bed late at night, praying to my Heavenly Father that my おじいちゃん would get through this.

After this event, he gave up smoking cold turkey, which was such a relief. It gave him some more time on this Earth, and I am so grateful. My おじいちゃん, in his 70's, purchased a laptop computer and learned how to email so that he could write me. I still have those few messages, and can't help but get teared up when I look through them. His very last email to me said how excited he was to get pictures from our Halloween, and how I had just entered high school and how beautiful I have become. This was sent just a week before he passed away. His passing was pretty sudden... he passed in his sleep. I am so glad that he did not go through pain, and that he was able to leave this world peacefully.

I still remember taking a week off of school to go to his funeral. It was much different than any funeral I had attended. It was a very traditional, Buddhist ceremony. Rather than celebrating his life, we mourned his death. It was so comforting to have the gospel in my life, knowing that he is forever my おじいちゃん and that I would see him again someday.

It still breaks my heart that おじいちゃん is not on this earth anymore. I have definitely grown up in those last seven years, and I have many regrets of not expressing my love and gratitude for him more. It's just something you don't think about in your younger years. He was so good to me. I wish he could have seen me graduate high school, or tell him about my job working at the frozen yogurt shop, or have him ask me about my first year of college, meet Justin, meet our future kids.... I think about him often, and I know that he is watching over me. I know that he was with me on the day I got married. My Japanese side is so important to me, and because of my おじいちゃん, it's something I never ever want to let go of.

おじいちゃん, I'm sorry I never told you this in person. But I think you knew, that I always did, and always will, love you.



Erika Dannelly said...

Holy, tears in my eyes. Rachel, this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing!!

K&R said...

aww so sweet. this last picture is so sweet. i'm so glad you have those messages from him. i'm sure he knew that you loved him. one day you will get to tell him for sure. love you rach.


Kimberly Bonham said...

Tears in my eyes too. I know exactly how you must feel. My Dad "was" a smoker and was in ICU in California with a whole bunch of health problems (due to smoking & drinking for years) for over a week a few months ago. My Husband and I moved him to Arizona and he is now living with us since he can't live on his own. He now has to be on oxygen for the rest of his life and it just kills me to see him the way that he is. The other night I cried like a baby on my knees praying to my Father in Heaven to heal his body and give him strength. Not only my Dad but my Husband and I too. We are trying so hard to get him better and healthy again and its a struggle sometimes..but nothing that we can't get through. We know that him coming to live with us was an answer to our prayers and I know it's all in Heavenly Fathers I take comfort in knowing that. I also take comfort in knowing that I have the Gospel in my life and that families CAN be together forever. This brings me the most peace and comfort. Thank you for sharing this story :)

Kelsey Eaton said...

Oh my goodness I almost just cried. This was so sweet. He definitely knows you love him!! What a sweet grandpa. How did your parents meet? Sorry that is random I am just curious :)

Julia Eden Holderness said...

<3 <3 <3

Anonymous said...

This is so sweet~ It's comforting to know that one day we can see our loved ones again :) i find that i feel relatives close by when i go to the temple <3

David said...


Marsa said...

rachel this made me cry! my ojiichan is in the hospital now because he was just diagnosed with leukemia :(
ojiichans are the best! praying for mine everyday

Purposely at Home said...

so precious. <3

really liking your new fonts too, friend.


Cathy said...

What a sweet post. Your grandpa loved you and your siblings. It was obvious any time he came to visit. He was always so happy and excited about doing anything with you guys. I remember when we were visiting Japan with you and he wanted to take you guys all over, Disneyland, the park, wherever, he spent the whole time with you. And when he visited America he spent all his time playing with you, too. I'm sure you all miss him, he was a wonderful grandpa.

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