Standing in the small foyer of a restaurant in a rural area north of Nagasaki, Japan, I am trying not to cry. I am thousands of miles and many days away from my son, working hard to be a “real” person, a professional, to hold it together until I can get home. The little book in my hand threatens to crumble my resolve. Here, in a most unexpected place, my child speaks to me.When the opportunity arose to take this business trip to Japan, my little boy was nine years old, in the midst of a rough year at school and a full-time schedule of therapies designed to coax him out of silence and shore up his abilities to learn and do things on his own. How could I go? Twelve days? Overseas?
Yet, how could I not? My work as a researcher for an author writing a book about the atomic bombing of Nagasaki had been providing a part-time reprieve from my duties as a special needs mom, allowing me the precious gift of digging in to a project that was completely un-autism. The opportunity to accompany my boss to meet the survivors of the bombing, support her final interviews with them, and complete research at a few sites in this historic city? We had to make this happen.Besides, there is nothing like talking to people who lived through the horror of a nuclear bombing to put one’s own little problems into perspective.
Dec. 4, 2013 Update: An adapted version of “Jiritsu” was published in Pentimento Magazine’s December 2013 issue!
Please go to PentimentoMagazine and subscribe – their premiere issue in July 2013 assembled a beautiful collection of essays and poems written by those living with disabilities or by their caregivers. I was immediately intrigued and eager to connect with this new venture, and I am thrilled that they chose “Jiritsu” for their second issue.
Through art, photography, essays, stories, and poetry, Pentimento Magazine will ask its readers to see beyond disabilities and physical challenges. To see the ways in which we are all connected, and find in our pages a sense of the what the poet Emily Dickinson wrote: ‘I felt it shelter to speak to you.’
It’s early morning at my parents’ house in the woods, and I find myself with a few moments of quiet to enjoy a cup of coffee and the serene view from my parents’ dining room windows. Whether it’s the aftereffect of a nice Thanksgiving weekend, or the fact that my son is sleeping in (one of the few things you can be thankful for when your child hits the teenage years), I find myself reflecting on the many gifts in my life that are worthy of thanks. As a blog post about gratitude comes into focus, I look up to see a small doe standing on the other side of the dirt road from my parents’ house, her ears perked and alert. Read More