It has been 7 Buddhist years since the passing of my mother-in-law, Yachiyo. I am not exactly sure what is the difference between a Buddhist year and other years, but it doest really matter.
The immediate family all gathered at our local Shingon Temple to hear some sutras, burn some incense and a short sermon by the 3 generation priest. I am always fascinated by the bells, chimes, and bead rubbing the priest performs as part of the rituals. I was torn between being absorbed in the sights, and repeating the Kaddish in my mind. At least the bits of it i have committed from my youth.
The bits of wooden incense that are burned of hot coals always make me feel ill. I am not sure if it is psychosomatic, or actually allergic to the woods and perfumes. I was so deathly ill at the wake back on a cold day in January, 2008.
Yahciyo was special. She always treated me like a son. She would stuff money in my pocket no matter how much I protested. There was always food in the house to keep my belly full. No matter how oddly unconventional I looked I was her son from the west. It never mattered.
She rarely ever went out with the family. There was one time when she took us to her favorite sushi shop somewhere in Ginza. It was the first authentic sushi I had ever eaten. Before that it was only the cheap kaiten sushi. The maguro flowed off the vinegar tinged rice. She laughed and had a good time with us all.
We both shared a sweet tooth, and once she found out I like Pocky, she always kept stocked around the house or shipped it in care packages to us in the states.
I miss her.
This is for you.
Lots of love
Jacob, your Miami born son.