Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


furu ike ya
(An old pond...)
kawazu tobikomu
(A frog jumps in...)
mizu no oto
(The sound of water.)
- Basho (1644-1694)

This is one of the most famous haiku ever written, and it has been analyzed by many people over the years. Most tend to agree that Basho's "frog" was inspiration plopping into someone's mind. Whether that mind was stagnant or simply quiet is a matter of debate. In my own case, however, I'm hearing that sound of water right now. It has nothing to do with inspiration, however. The cold hand of fate has tossed something into the quiet (stagnant?) pond of my family's life, and we are only just now starting to hear the splash. I fear those ripples are going to be bouncing around for quite a while.

It has just been confirmed. My mother-in-law has cancer.

Tomorrow morning bright and early she's off to Tokyo, where she'll be visiting a well-known and highly regarded cancer treatment center. They don't know the extent of her affliction yet. They aren't sure whether it's localized or has already spread. At any rate, with both surgery and lengthy therapy looking very likely, it's a good bet she'll be down there for quite some time. And while she's there, dad-in-law will be there, too.

It's devastating news, especially for my wife. It also couldn't have come at a worse time.

It's easy to take for granted the people or things that assist you in your daily life until that assistance is suddenly taken away. My wife and I have just been hit across the face with the plank-like truth of just how much her parents have been helping us over the past nine years. It's hard enough dealing with the fact that her mother's life might be in danger. The fact that we're coming into the busiest and most stressed-out two-month period of the school year with no one to look after the kids or take care of domestic necessities while we're at work has left us with an even bigger dilemma. Sure, there is day care for my son, and my daughter is old enough now to take care of herself to some extent, but that's not the point. It's a complicated mess for every one of us, and the whole family is just going to have to deal with it one way or the other.

I just hope and pray that my mother-in-law comes through this okay. I hope you're all with me on this, too.


  • We all send our best and are hoping for the best.

    By Blogger Don Snabulus, at 12:44 AM  

  • Absolutely, This is a very hard thing to deal with no matter how you look at it. Our prayers are with her and your entire family.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:36 AM  

  • That's a lot bigger than a frog jumping in. We will keep all of you in our thoughts. Anything we can do, let us know.

    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 10:35 AM  

  • Dear MM, I feel for you and your family. Be strong.

    By Blogger Happysurfer, at 1:13 PM  

  • May God bless her and everything goes fine with you.

    Don't get "Blue"

    By Anonymous L.C_D, at 4:11 PM  

  • Moody, be tough, be stong and don't be moody :) Keep us updated, at least we here can share some of your feelings and prayers, too.

    By Blogger @ロウ 。LOW@, at 6:14 PM  

  • Thank you all very much. Friends are the best resource anyone can have.

    The latest is this:

    My mother-in-law went to the cancer specialist in Tokyo this morning. The prognosis is that she has cancer right in the place where the esophagus joins with the stomach (I can't recall the name right now). They don't know yet if it has spread anywhere else. She will have surgery on March 11th and will remain at the hospital at least till then. So far she seems to be in good health and good spirits...about as well as can be expected under these circumstances.

    Right now I'm less concerned about being "blue" or "moody" than I am about keeping my temper, which is really on a hair trigger right now. (Problems at work in addition to at home.) My father-in-law, who said he was going to be staying in Tokyo, changed his mind and came back (saying he was worried about his cat). That will lessen the pressure here at home quite a bit and also allow us to ease the burden on him. However, as most of you have already heard from me to the point of nausea, my father-in-law can be an extremely difficult person at the best of times. This is definitely not the best of times. Already this evening he suddenly went into control freak mode and started spouting irrational demands, which immediately set me off. My wife quickly shut that down (fortunately), but I really hope this sort of thing doesn't start happening on a regular basis. I don't think any of us need it.

    Anyway, thank you all for your support. I think we need that more than anything right now.

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 12:03 AM  

  • Hoping the best for your family, and for her.

    By Blogger DewKid, at 6:51 AM  

  • This is sad news. And that father in law issue really is a pain. I hope things get better for your family. We know the pressure and stress is immense and we hope you stay well.

    By Blogger agus, at 1:21 PM  

  • Thank you, Dewkid, as always.

    Agus, thanks a lot for stopping by. I appreciate it. We're all doing the best we can.

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 2:41 PM  

  • my prayer goes to you and your family during this challenging times.

    Do take care and be strong and calm, someone has to be strong and clam in such situation.

    By Blogger Robin, at 12:36 PM  

  • Be strong moody. Stay a calm state of mind. My prayers are with u.

    Lots of hugs...

    By Blogger YD, at 4:47 PM  

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