It seems those thundery late July skies were not celebrations, but omens of an awful tragedy.
My mother is gone.
An active, fit woman for her age, she went down with a stomach bug which felled her in three days. It was very sudden, very unexpected. No-one, least of all her doctor, thought it was a fatal illness, just a minor stomach upset. The official cause was septicemia brought on by gastroenteritis.
My father called me with the news and I caught the earliest flight back to the UK on 5th August. The last few weeks have been spent in Lichfield, organizing the funeral, looking after my father and coming to terms with the loss. I returned to Japan last Friday.
I'm still very numb, and very brittle. I cannot understand why I've been unable to cry. My father and sister are in pieces, but I've been locking it all inside. It was too sudden and unexpected, we all thought she had a good few more years in her.
I was very close to my mum, even though I've lived the other side of the world for so long now. We shared the same character, of her three children I'm definitely the most like her in looks and personality. Perhaps being based the other side of the world for so long has buffered me to a degree, I always felt she was here with me in spirit in Japan, so to a point I'm more used to the idea of her not being around. My mind has created a buffer zone, a state of suspended disbelief, as if events are seen and understood, but not truly believed. Everything seems to have enacted out like watching a film. The fact that I'll never see her again is a truth that's only now beginning to really sink in.