In Japan, today is the forty-ninth day since the death of my mother-in-law, “Mother,” “Okaa-san,” “Obaa-chan,” Seiko. Today is a special day where, in Buddhist ceremony and belief that on the forty-ninth day after passing the soul is no longer bound by karma, Seiko’s ashes can now be permanently interred. Unlike her funeral ceremony where many of Seiko’s family and friends and admirers attended to show their love and respect for her, today’s ceremony is a smaller, family-focused occasion.

How I wish I could be there with the family today to also show my love and respect for her, and to be closely surrounded by them all during this time.

But I cannot. So I think fondly of her and I pray for her and I pray that the pain of her passing will quickly ease for those of us who love and miss her so.

Seiko embodied and lived the values and qualities in character and of action that I wish I possessed as an individual and that I wish I had been able to live throughout my life.

I would have liked to have drawn a picture of her to include here, however, no matter how hard I try, I find that my eyes are too bad now and my hands shake too much that my efforts to capture her beauty, not just her physical beauty, for that she certainly had, and for which her daughter, my wife, also possesses in a very close likeness of her mother, but mostly it is Seiko’s spiritual beauty, which was profound and deep, that, regardless how well my eyes can focus or how steady my hands can draw, I am unable to, nor would ever be able to, capture in one of my feeble drawings.

So I share my loving memory of Seiko in a poem, a poem that falls well short of capturing the good and positive life that she lived, a life which touched and comforted so many in so many different, known and unknown, ways, but a poem which, nonetheless, comes closet to expressing my feelings and my love for her.

Seiko, may God continue to, and forever bless you with Eternal Peace, Happiness, and Love.

Like Incense, You Burned

Like incense, you burned
true, steady, reliably,
patiently purifying the world around you
with a bright, burning intensity and passion
and unending purpose
that only the gods could comprehend.

Like incense, you burned,
not for yourself but for life,
all of it.
You burned with love for each of us,
for everyone.
You burned with a love that transcended all boundaries
and all languages,
a love that transcended space and time.

Like incense, you burned,
and as you did
your presence permeated its surroundings
and filled it with your sweet soothing sensitive balm,
a healing balm,
a mystical balm,
a beautifully fragrant balm that will last and linger deep within the senses
and the soul of the universe
for all eternity.

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