Sunday, December 26, 2010


Today is Oba's yahrzeit, or the anniversary of her death. Even though she has been gone from this world for a year, her spirit is all around us. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her.

When Warren plugs in the hot water heater, fills the rice cooker, or turns on the kotatsu, I imagine her doing the same for him when he was a child.

When I open the pantry, I see shelves of Japanese food staples and am reminded of her monthly care packages. A glance around our house reveals the blankets and pillows she sent, the books and toys she bought for the kids, etc.

Every morning when I plug in Warren's phone to charge, I see the picture of her on his wallpaper. "Good morning, Oba," I say.

When Jiro smiles, I see her face. When Satchel laughs, I hear her laugh.

Everyday, Oba's memory is a blessing.

Last night to mark the occasion, Satchel taught us each how to make a paper crane. (The crane is a symbol of peace in Japanese culture, as well as luck and loyalty.) We wrote messages on our cranes and put them in a bottle along with some glow sticks. (In the Jewish tradition, one would light a candle that burns for 24 hours.) We went down to the river and watched as the bottle floated away in the darkness.

Then we came home, gathered around the kotatsu and had a family meal of shabu shabu.

Later, we all got in bed together and read the story of Yoko and the Paper Cranes. We talked about our cranes finding Oba and how she is still very much with us...even if she was reincarnated as a cat or Mrs. Sarah's new baby.

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