Last week was fits of crying then laughing, as my dad's dying coincided with the visit from Mayra Calvette's project, Birth Around theWorld. Mayra came to Saito and Imoto Birth Houses on June 19th, 2012. The day before, my mom called to say that my dad was finally giving in to the cancer that he has fought bravely and incredibly, head held high, for 6 years. I knew it could happen while I was here, but I was hoping it wouldn't. Lukas and I had decided we should go home. To say goodbye, to be with my family.
After crying and talking, and with the tender words of two of my friends from home, including: "he chose who he wanted to have with him when he died," we decided to stay.
When I did Morioka-san's post-partum 4 day visit in the morning, we were leaving.
When Mayra came in the afternoon, we were staying.
|Morioka-san and her little man. Morioka-san was born at home with an old midwife. She birthed so beautifully. This is her second son.|
|Mayra started her interview at Imoto's.|
|That night, the 19th, a typhoon was brewing. Imoto-san is bringing her plants in.|
|In the early wind and rain, this man delivered sushi on his bike.|
The evening Mayra arrived, thanks to Saito-san, we toasted my dad with a special Japanese toast to the dying. "Kambai!!!" Saito-san said, "only a typhoon has strong enough winds to carry your dad over here!!!" she exclaimed. And so it was. We all enjoyed the following light meal... while the winds howled, and we wondered, seriously, if the roof might blow off.
|Lukas- always happy to see beauty|
|Hmmm... what should we say...?|
|The great discussion: Saito-san and Imoto-san; Kaneko-san ("the boss") has their backs|
I cried A LOT, translated til late 2 nights in a row, saw the world through Mayra's eyes, and got special Q & A time as the midwives sat down to Mayra's Interviews.
It really was one of the most poignant moments of my life. I thought of my dad passing as I held my 3rd new baby laying, so much like an invalid dying person, in my arms- soft and dependent and utterly precious. It was quite a beautiful, life-filled moment.
|Infant Massage at Imoto Birth House|
I collapsed for an evening, rested, and got back up again, Ricker-style, Japanese-style, to do it again the next day.
Saito-san has been a mother-friend-mentor through this whole process. The night before he passed, she encouraged me, even though there was more work to be done: "Go home! You must want to call to your dad and tell him to come be with you!" And so I did. He passed the next morning, and the winds had wiped the place clean. I walked up the hill to the birth house, not yet knowing he had died, with a feeling of peace and freedom and such happiness in the clear air. When I found out he was gone, there was a moment of elation.
I am surrounded and inspired, at this moment by powerful, committed, caring women (*and 2 charming gentlemen and a few lovely babies and their mamas) who make my life immensely rich and warm.