Summary: Woke up to the news, quit my job, went to a candlelight vigil, passed one around, talked to some geeks from Pacific Daily News newspaper, learned about the Internet, signed up for class the next day, started making websites about hemp in Japan, got a new job, quit, went to Palau and Yap, went to Olympia, met some Internet hippies… somehow its today.
The past few days we’ve witnessed a powerful transition of life as Ichiro’s great-grandmother Tomiko Fujita ￼left this realm at 94 years old.
She is the widow of grandfather Ichiro who died over 4 decades ago at 49 years old. She passed a few hours after we formally registered the new lil Ichiro’s name at the City Office.￼￼
Her body went through the traditional Buddhist rituals in the house with monks, attendants, preparers and so on coming and going over 4 days with relics, artifacts, momentos, flowers, altars and so on / conducting prayers & chants plus bells, incense… all in the same tatami room where Ryoko & Ichi had rested hours before￼.
There’s more to say about this whole experience and the incredible dignity and respect and intention with which she was treated – but for now, I will say: as in the Buddhist consideration, her spirit lingers here for 40 some odd days after the body diminishes and feeling the life force transmitting between generations was undeniable.
PS watching my dear in-laws’ graceful tenacity during the scant days between dropping their daughter at clinic to give birth to baby coming home & settling in, then FiL’s mother passing & ceremonies… was a revelation of love.
Changing topics from Nagasaki to Olympics to… Dad. Well he’s gone 6 years today.
On my mind so much as now i am bound to be a Dad in June.
His last weeks are hard to reflect upon. Not just the heart hurting but all the toll it took just living through the process on someone dying. The physical and emotional strain was well… a lot. Cancer, ugh. Have we not raised enough money, enough research, enough science yet? Learned on Christmas Day, was gone before Valentine’s Day.
Here’s a snap of us January 26, 2014. He looks rough but so positive and strong during the stretch run – He was fun and kind. So much respect. Thanks to all of you who supported us with kind words during that time. (Also, a thumbs-down to those who decided his funeral was a good time to give me grief, you are lame).
Peace to you and your kin. Good health for all. Boo cancer, yeah fun times.
++ My brother James adds:
My brother Dave Olson expresses so many sentiments on the anniversary of my dad’s passing (6 years+1 day) so well that I figured that I would just share what he said and add a thought …
A THOUGHT: As his ever-wise fourth son, it was easy to find “flaws” in my dad, as it was to pick out things he was really great at as a dad and good human. As a dad now, not repeating some of those flaws is actually pretty easy but replicating the great stuff is actually really hard.
I am a way grouchier presence in the house than he was (ask my poor kids!); his optimism pertaining to people and things was most often beyond commendable (he saw good and potential way more clearly than I can); he didn’t always need people to rush, rush, rush (“Hurry up!” seems to be my favourite refrain); and the list goes on.
I take solace in knowing that he evolved into many of those qualities and ways of being and I have some time.
What becomes of the seemingly ephemeral creations we leave behind? Especially in the analog-days?
Consider these in the context of missing cassette tapes made by a now departed poet/activist/scholar Foster and guitar-ing Mikael, who recorded spontaneous youthful riffs in parent’s basement in Utah. In this postcard, Mikael Lewis sings “Wildflower (for Foster)” written by Dave in a clinic in Nepal, then adds some more verses, spiels and a poem called “Occasionally Free” – with lightning, rainstorm and crickets chiming along.
Note: Also available in audio-only via all normal podcast channels and elsewhere in this library.
A heart-wrenching poem about an abducted boy called Simon – who lived nearby, was my age and sorta looked like me – in Surrey, BC 1982 – by the “Beast of BC” Clifford Robert Olson (NO relation). Recorded and contributed to Dark Poutine Canadian True Crime podcast – shared here for posterity etc.
In hospital with sedated Grandpa, Dave reads complete “Letters from Russia” epistolary literature project with frequent interruptions from visitors, nurses and medical apparatus. The letters address issues of class, revolutions, monarchy, war, trade, and love in the context of Napoleon’s foray into Russia in 1812 through letters from a cobbler to his fiancé in Paris. Then finishes with Walt Whitman heading on the open road (which ole Gramps was so fond of doing himself).
Featured music: Mark Olson (music, guitar, vocals) and Dave Olson (lyrics, drums) “Little Flame” – recorded to 4 track cassette, circa 1996.