When Home Is Far From Home

Every year, towards the end of December, my wife and I pack our bags and fly back to the U.K. It’s not that I miss home, particularly, but rather the fact that I am conscious of the fact my parents are in their seventies and whilst they appear healthy and in reasonable control of their faculties, once you reach a certain age you can’t take another full one for granted. It’s awful really. As everybody knows, time passes more quickly with every year one is alive. When I look back ten years, it seems to have been just a short time ago. When I think of the age I will be ten years hence, it is terrifying. In that short time, I will be what seems like a ridiculous age to be. My mind isn’t ready. But it never is, is it? We are all still youthful in our heads. However scary my forward thinking may be, though, at least I have that luxury. At least I can hedge my bets and consider ten years into the future. For my parents, and perhaps yours, ten years is a luxury they can pray and hope for but not accept as a given.

Right now I am sitting in Heathrow Airport having a pint before I head back to Japan. A few hours ago, I hugged my mother and watched her cry as she always does when I leave. ‘I wish you could be here more often,’ she said. And every time it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart because amongst those tears which are saying goodbye to a son who is heading back to Japan, I know there are frightened tears that say so much more. I know there are tears which roll with the fear that they are simply saying, ‘Goodbye.’

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12 Responses to When Home Is Far From Home

  1. kamo says:

    Never gets any easier, does it?

    You have both my sympathy and empathy. Best wishes for 2014 and I hope you have many more tearful departures for years to come.

  2. I go through the same thing every time I visit home. It never gets any easier. For me it’s only got harder. All the best in 2014.

  3. It really is ridiculous, isn’t it? And you only start to realize that after your mid-twenties.

  4. mreuroguy says:

    Very emotional post.. Made me think of my parents

  5. I’m so happy to have stumbled upon your blog! I too, worry about my parents, and their age, they will turn 60 this year, (or 61) they have both a health scare, and I somehow feel that if I were there, closer, “less than five hour plane ride” compared to 17, (NYC) would be able to keep on top of things more. I find myself pinning for home during the turn of the seasons, and I think instead of just traveling everywhere, maybe I should travel home, more? I look forward to reading more! Cheers!

  6. Audrey says:

    There are times that I feel really torn about all the time I’ve spent in Japan and the fact that I’m still considering stying longer. My parents are in their late 60’s and while they still take time every year to traipse around Japan with their daughter and grand daughter (and son in law, if he’s not busy), I wonder every year if it will the the last year they’re willing to make the trip. I don’t want to return to my home country, but what do you do when the really tough times come?

    • It’s a tough one. I have brothers who live close to my parents so at least I know someone is there if they need them, but I still feel a bit guilty when I think of the time I could be spending with them in their later years. But my wife is Japanese and were we to leave, I would be putting her in the same position as I am in. Getting my folks used to Skype has been good as we can at least still speak and see each other regularly. There are Japanese businessmen who have been transferred to another part of Japan and due to work probably only see their parents once a year, too, so maybe we shouldn’t feel so bad about it!

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