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Giving Forward  愛の受け渡し

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My very special friend, M is about 20 years older than me. She was one of the first people I met upon my arrival in Canada in 1990. She was a great teacher for me.  We became so close that she has been like my mentor or my big sister.

M had a serious operation recently and I went to see her at the hospital the day after.  A couple of people were already visiting her, filling the room with warm laughter.

When those people left, quickly the room turned still.  Lying back on the bed, M closed her eyes.

“Tired?” I asked.

“A little” she said.

I was sitting beside her watching her face.

M opened her eyes.

“It’s the same as many years ago, remember?” she said.

“I was lying down on bed in the hospital and you were sitting beside me just like that.”

I nodded. “Of course, I remember. Long time ago…. maybe 20 years?”

“You were crying, remember?”

I nodded again.

20 years ago, M had a lung failure.  She crossed over to the other side, and then was resuscitated.  She says that she was dreaming the whole time this was happening.  She remembers that in her dream I appeared to her and told her to come back.

So, when she came back to life, she was very worried that something terrible might have happened to me. She phoned me from the hospital bed.  I had had no idea that she was so sick….. ran to the hospital, and sat beside her.  At the time I was going through a difficult time myself, and when she asked me how I was doing, I couldn’t help my tears flowing down my cheeks.

20 years forward, I am once again sitting beside a bed in a hospital room watching M.  28 years went flashing in my mind.  How much love she has given me, how much has she encouraged me, and how precious is M to me.  Feeling overwhelmed by gratitude, I left the room praying.

At noon, I opened the door of a restaurant in Kitsilano. I was getting together for lunch with Y whom I have not seen for a long time, perhaps 20 years….

When I was working for an ESL school called Harbourside College, Y was one of the first students who came to this school from Japan.  When she first arrived, she was a little over 20 years old, a nervous looking, unsophisticated girl with no English what-so-ever. How she changed over time was like a miracle. She opened up little by little as she gained her confidence, like a beautiful flower opening its petals from a tightly closed green bud.  She became fluent in English in just a few years. Now she has come back to Vancouver, living with her Canadian husband, working in her dream job, and…. she says she has turned 45!!

We had a nice catching up, and when the time came to say good-bye, she said she would pay the bill.

“Oh no, how about going Dutch?”, I said, but she insisted.

She said, “Remember this? Remember that? There are so many things you have done for me and I’m so grateful. I work and earn money. Let me pay for this lunch.”

Oh my God, I felt really overwhelmed.  She has grown. And, I realized for the first time that I had been playing a role of a mentor for this young lady.

It’s interesting. Receiving and giving….  I had been given such big love from M and passing the love on to Y.  And, I had no idea about that…..

What a heartwarming day it was.

私には特別に近しいメンターとでも呼べるような20歳くらい年上の友人がいる。カナダに来て最初に出会った友人でもう28年近い付き合いだ。

その彼女が年末に癌の手術を受けた。手術の翌日、病室に見舞いに行くと、そこには先着の見舞客がいて、明るい笑い声が室内に渦巻いていた。しばらくして見舞客が去ると病室は急速にしんとなった。

「疲れた?」と聞くと「少し」という。

私は彼女の横に座って黙って彼女を見つめていた。

Mさんは目を開けると、「もう何年も前にこれと同じことがあったのよ。覚えてる?」という。

「私がこうして病院のベッドに横たわっててあなたがこうして横に座って。」

「もちろん覚えてるよ。もう何年前だろう。。。20年くらいたつのかな。」

「あなたは私のベッドの横で話しながら涙を流したのよ。」「うん、覚えてる。。」

Mさんは20年前のその時、呼吸不全で生死の境をさまよっていて、生還したばかりだった。

死の瀬戸際にいた時、彼女は夢を見ていて、この私が夢に現れて彼女を生に呼び戻したんだという。だから目覚めた時、私に何か異変があったのかもしれないと心配して、病室から電話をくれた。そこで私は初めて彼女の入院を知って駆けつけたわけだ。その頃の私は、精神的に苦しい毎日を過ごしていた。だから「どうしてるの?」と聞かれて思わず涙が溢れ出て頬を濡らした。

そんなことを思い出しながらしばらく座って語り合って、私は重い気持ちを抱えたまま病室を出た。Mさん、どうか1日も早く元気になって。

彼女の存在に今まで私はどれだけ助けられ励まされてきたことか。感謝の気持ちでいっぱいになる。

そのあと、キツイラノのとあるレストランで、やはり20年くらい会っていないYさんと昼食を共にした。

Yさんは私が昔働いていた学校の、ほぼ最初の日本人留学生だった。カナダに到着した当初の彼女は、20歳そこそこの、緊張してカチコチに固まった生徒だったのに、滞在中にどんどん花が開くように、自信をつけてめざましく成長した。その彼女ももう45歳になったという。

ひとしきり、近況報告などを済まして、楽しくおしゃべりして、お勘定を払う時になって、彼女は「ここは私が」という。

「いいえ、割り勘にしよ」と私が言っても聞き入れない。

「あんなこともあったし、こんなこともあったし、私すごく感謝しているんです。だから私に払わせてください」という。

なんだかジンときてしまった。そうか、成長したんだ。。。知らない間に私が若い彼女のメンターのような役目を担ったのかな。。と思った。

人間って不思議。私がMさんから受け取った愛を知らず知らずのうちにYさんに受け渡している。

午前中はMさんを見舞って、午後はYさんと過ごして、なんと心温まる1日だったことだろう。

Author: Haruyo Abramson

I'm a musician, mom, and grandma, living in BC, Canada with my husband and three dogs.

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