Our House - Santa Monica

Posted on April 16, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Ana looks in.
I am having moving pains but the time has come.  The escrow agent says it's a common symptom when people sell their homes. On top of that, my mother was hospitalized for pnemonia.  My sister called from Tokyo to explain mother's condition.  We may have to put her on life support because she was having trouble breathing.  But my father did not want to hook mother up on machines again.  Not this time. Mother was too fragile, and has been in a nearly vegetative state for more than 2 years.  "It's time to let nature run its course," my father insisted.  We all agreed.
"You don't need to come back to Japan,"  Father said to me on the phone. He said the same thing when Japan was hit by the earthquake and tsunami less than a month ago.  I am five thousand miles away from Japan. It was difficult to drop everything and be in Tokyo - not in the midst of what's going on at home.   "The best thing you can do is to keep on doing what you are suppose to be doing," Father said, and assured me that my brothers and sister would help him. The next 24 to 48 hours were critical.  I might miss saying goodbye to Mother but I would fly in later for the funeral.  It was a sad decision but I was relieved that my father felt strong enough to come to terms with mother's life. Though, I prayed that mother would somehow bounce back on her own.

The patio

I know mother would be happier if she saw that I didn't interrupt my schedule.  I had to do the final cleaning of the old nest.  There is an old Japanese says,  A bird never leaves a messy nest. behind.  

Clean house, move, and make soba. I am doing a charity soba event in two days. Part of the proceeds go to the sake brewers who suffered damage from the earthquake and tsunami. There are over 200 sake breweries that suffered.  I kept our kitchen active till the very end, though I did most of the prep at Breadbar the day before the event. 

During the final two nights in Santa Monica, we pulled the mattress off the sofa bed and slept on the floor.  I accidently packed the blankets and pillows and moved them to the new house in Pasadena so we had a couple of nights where we were sleeping with nothing but a sheet, and pillows made from rolled up jeans.   

We managed to get everything out in time.  We didn't even need to leave anything in the garage.  It was a miracle we found a nice pet friendly house in Pasadena to move to in such a short amount of time.  We were ready to live in a motel for awhile  if worse came to worse.

An empty house takes on a different feeling.  The rooms echo, and it is not the same as it was when we had all our artwork and furniture.  Even KInchan and Anachan noticed; they followed me around everywhere  to make sure they didn't get left behind.

We were supposed to have a final happy hour from 5-7 on the 11th with our neighbors but we cancelled because the new buyer wanted to move in at 6pm, and the agent said they were going to show up no matter what. We thought we had until midnight, but apparently not. I was upset that she was rushing us out.  She was as anxious as we were to be in her new home.  

As I did the final walk through the house, i got a little emotional.   I thought about our son Sakae when he was younger. All the sleepovers he did with his friends; once I had about a dozen kids over for a slumber party.  I thought about Sakae practicing his oboe in the back room.  Our dog, Stinky.  His ashes are buried under the persimmon tree. I walked through one room to another, recollecting memories.  It was then that I found a little metal pin in the shape of a heart in the closet. I knew it was my mother telling me, "Don't forget your heart." I thanked her for the reminder.

I wrote a note to the buyer and wished her well. To love and enjoy living in this house, as much as we did.

So here is a goodbye to the skies of Santa Monica


to the apricot tree that gave us so much fruit.


Sakai stood in his studio and looked once more at the work of art he created. It was as if he was saluting it goodbye.   If I were to give this art work a title, it would be, "OUR HOUSE".


Kinchan said goodbye to the vegetable garden.

I said goodbye to the happy sun, which made me smile each time I looked at it.  It was a souvenir  I brought back from Sicily.

Thank you House for sixteen great years.  We leave as Shirley Temple and Morrie did before us.  With love and hope.

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Reply Fiona
9:49 PM on April 18, 2011 
What a beautiful post.
Reply Amy san
7:37 PM on April 17, 2011 
I'm so sorry to hear of your mother's ill health. My thoughts and prayers are with you.