Mother – grief
My mother’s father passed away when I was 15 years old. Two years before his death, he was hit by a truck when he cycled home from the rice shop. He recovered after a period of hospitalization, but he was slightly different when he returned. He was as quiet and gentle as before, but his facial feature was not as sharp as before. He looked somewhat “off.” The night before his death, I saw him off at the rice shop as he left for his high school reunion at a ryokan. He looked happy that he could drink sake with his friends and bathe in the onsen. He grinned and waved at me, and suddenly I was struck with sadness. Perhaps it pained me to see him changed as it felt like I had lost the grandfather I had known. Also, maybe something told me that it was the last time I saw him.
The next morning, the phone rang, and my mother picked it up in her bedroom. The rest of us were in the dining room and the living room. The next moment, my mother burst into the living room and collapsed on the tatami mat and cried out that her father had died. The wail and the intense emotion coming from my mother stunned me, and I stood at the threshold of the living room, unable to utter a word. I finally asked how that happened, but it was unanswered as my father raised his voice at my mother and told her to put herself together. No arms held her or picked her up, so she silently stood up and retreated into her bedroom to arrange her leave from work.
My grandfather, who loved sake, had plenty of it before he went to take a bath in his other favorite thing in the world, onsen, late in the night and drowned in it. His body was found in the early morning by a guest.
I didn’t see my mother drop a tear after the morning of my grandfather’s death throughout the funeral. We returned home from the funeral, and my father kept drinking alone at home. He started talking about his father-in-law, said he was a good man, and was sad to lose him. My mother served him the drinks and snacks and remained silent to his mumbling. My father then started crying as he mourned about my grandfather. I was a little shocked to see him cry for the first time but was also dubious of his sincerity. It looked as though he cried on behalf of my mother, whose grief he suppressed earlier. It was her tears, her pain, her loss, not his. My mother quietly turned her back to him and went to her bedroom.