Dear close friend of mine,

You have been off and on struggling through a few things since arriving here in Japan. We all have, but in recent months it has gotten worse.

I worry because I have been in your shoes, even though the two of us are not wearing the same pair. The situations are a little different and the needs aren’t quite the same, but I understand the pain and the guilt.

As I have said I lost my mother due to complications during her fight with brain cancer. It will be three years since her passing this coming April. But it hasn’t only been that…

My family, in the last few years, has been cursed with the passing of at least one close family member a year. Slowly people started to fade out of my life. First it was my great grandparents, on both my mother and fathers sides. Then it happened. My grandma, my mother’s mom, became sick. It all happened so fast.

Her illness was never fully diagnosed but it was believed to be due to cancer in both her lungs and tumors in several other places. What was the cause? Well, she had always been a heavy smoker for as long as I can remember; even before my mother and uncles had been born. My memories of her are littered of her with a cigarette in hand.  Thus it was assumed it had everything to do with that. But we cannot fully know for sure because she has always been skeptic in life and hospitals had been no exception.

Would it have made a difference if we all knew sooner? I can’t say. There was so much going on before we fully understood that my grandma had been sick, but watching you now my friend… It all comes flooding back. The emotions I felt, the stress, the sorrow, and the love.

Once she passed it was devastating to my mother and our family. Then two years later we would lose our own mother other as well.

So dear friend, I have been there too. I have watched the people I hold dear be strong for one another. I have helped care for our dear ones as we watch that loved one slip away. I have worn the armor that helps keep a brave face for those around me. I have done it all.

Just know I am here for you. I might not have the right words to say, because I have never had the right words even for myself. Just know that you are not alone. It sucks. It really, truly sucks. But if you need an ear, a shoulder, or just presence of a person, let me know. I’ll be there.

Losing a loved one is never easy; especially when it is a close family member. Losing a mother, a grandparent, or siblings is a hell on earth. We just have to be sure we don’t let the darkness of it all take us down with it.

And sadly it gets harder before it gets better, but it doesn’t ever fully heal.


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