And once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about. — Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
Over the weekend, just as I finished celebrating what would have been my uncle's sixty-first birthday eight years after his death, I received word that two of my close friends' respective dads passed away, both from illnesses. I have little to offer in terms of comfort; my uncle was a second dad to me but the last thing I want to do is to hug them and say, "I understand." So I offer this poem instead. I suppose in the eyes of many it is trite and maudlin, but it was one of my greatest comforts when I was going through my own loss. I hope it extends even the slightest succor to my own grieving friends.
God's Garden Must Be Beautiful
God saw you getting tired,
When a cure was not to be.
So He wrapped His arms around you,
And whispered, "Come to Me".
You didn't deserve what you went through,
So He gave you rest.
God's garden must be beautiful,
He only picks the best.
And when I saw you sleeping,
So peaceful and free from pain,
I could not wish you back
To suffer that again.
I first met one of the dads mentioned here, Mr Sugawara, at a delicious restaurant in Little Tokyo. It is one of my favorite spots in Manila, where my close friends (his daughter included) and I often gather after work, stuffing ourselves with takoyaki and beer and each others' company. We always kidded that he was the mayor of Little Tokyo because whenever he was around he would always ask to see if we were okay and eating well. For us, Hana meant friendship and fun and fond memories. It was--is still--a place of great joy. Do visit to see what I mean.