Starting a New Journey | After a long struggle with sickness, my mother passed away. Since then I have made a lot of trips while captured by undigested mixed feelings. I have chosen to visit seaside, because I remember what my mother used to say to me before she died. “Michiko, I want to go to seaside and feel the breeze.” While seeing the horizon way out there, all the memories of her was back to me.
We used to often take a walk together around open fields in our neighborhood. As she was a good walker, I think she would enjoy walking around the seashore tirelessly. Now, she’s gone and I can’t see and touch her again. However, I feel her all the more because I know that I can never build up the relationship with her any more.
I might be able to describe those trips of mine as pilgrimages in order to face my mixed feelings about my mother.
‘Osorezan’, which is located on the northern tip of the Honshu island, is one of the places I visited. This sacred site has existed for over a thousand years. It is known as the place where people can contact with the departed. People who visit there try to console the spirits of their loved one by piling up stones and laying flowers, so, I did the same thing, and I surely felt it was the right place to talk with my mother.
What does “mourning for a departed soul” mean? When you lost someone, you might feel that person deep in your mind and you might recall the relationship and your memories of events with them. People exist in relation to each other. However, once they die, their materiality comes to exist only in someone's mind. Someone who has passed away could be assimilated into one's mind, so to speak, and become a part of that person, in their memories and emotions. I have been asking myself whether feelings toward someone who has passed away is our own internal conflict and if mourning means to keep going forward with that conflict.
On realizing it, I felt that I merged with all the memories of my mother rather than living with them. At the same time, it was strange but the loneliness came up to my mind. I have never felt like that before. It’s sad a little bit but I found the feeling of elation had grown in my mind, too. It is like the feeling before starting a new journey. www.michikochiyoda.com