I walk on light feet

I walk on light feet

Living with an aging parent is teaching me a lot about fear. Every day I have the opportunity to engage with fear. Some fears are physical, some are financial, and if I were honest, most originate from a place of fear and uncertainty about my own future.

This morning Otosan came back from his morning walk to the convenience store to buy a newspaper without incident. I’m very happy he has learned how to navigate the front door, elevator and crosswalks. I worry every time he goes out by himself and wonder if today will be the last. He is physically capable of the walk but using the key to open the automatic door at the main entrance of our building and then operating the elevator is confusing. It sometimes takes him just as long to get up to the 11th floor as it does to walk to the convenience store. Today was a good day. I stepped out onto our balcony in time to see him look both ways before crossing the street in front of our building. Yes! Proof that people never stop learning.

Then, as I sat down to work on my computer Otosan hollered down the hall for me. I quickly learned that one of his new hearing aids was missing. We guessed that it had become tangled in his pajamas when he pulled them off and changed clothes. No problem except that he had given me his pajamas to wash and I had already thrown them in with the first load of clothes. I searched through the wet clothes but the machine was on the last rinse cycle and still full of water. All we could do was wait for the water to drain. In the meantime my husband and I grabbed our coats and retraced Otosan’s walk to the convenience store to see by chance if his hearing aid had fallen somewhere along the way. No luck.

Back at home, a careful search through every piece of clothing in the now finished load of wash resulted in good news and bad news. Good in that the hearing aid was not in the wash. Bad in that we had no idea where to look next. My husband left for work with a heavy heart. Ugly thoughts of fear surrounding the cost of the hearing aid. Regret that we purchased the most expensive one. Feelings of guilt for questioning whether or not Otosan could or should bear the burden of responsibility for caring for such an expensive one. Then feelings of embarrassment for allowing such money fears to arise. It’s only money and the hearing aid is only a material thing, right? In the scheme of things it doesn’t really matter.

A quick prayer to the gods and guides, and I was back in Otosan’s room to search his bedding. Surely the hearing aid had simply flown through the air and was hiding in a corner somewhere or tangled up in the sheets, right? Wrong. I started remaking his stripped bed and was thinking about where someone would take a lost hearing aid if they found it on the street. The police box? A pawn shop? I bent over to readjust the area rug in front of his bed and felt a rush of sweet relief! There it was tucked between the baseboard of his bed and the little area rug in front.

I quickly sent my husband a text message and then took the hearing aid into the living room where Otosan was quietly reading the newspaper. He was so relieved. He told me how worried he had been about telling his son. I’m glad he didn’t realize that I had already told him. A small bit of dignity preserved. We talked about how we can both be more careful in the future. He’ll be mindful when he changes his clothes and I promised to keep an eye out when I do the laundry. I was pretty sure Otosan had been upset about the hearing aid but he is very good at hiding his feelings. I still had some work to do so we agreed to take our daily walk to the hospital to visit Okasan after lunch. I then knew just how much he had been bothered by the missing hearing aid when he said that today he could enjoy the walk on light feet. Finding the hearing aid had removed a huge burden!

I know Otosan meant light weight feet but I love how the word “light” can have two meanings in English. It gives me a giggle to imagine walking down the street on feet of light. How lovely to be reminded that we are truly beings of light or energy. It’s difficult to stay in fear for very long if you have light feet. I choose to walk on my light feet today!

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About the Author:

Hi! I'm Marci. When I'm not writing, building websites, or coaching clients, I love walking the streets of Japan and discovering spirit in all shapes and forms. Here on the blog, you'll also get a peek into what it is like to live with and care for my Japanese father-in-law who has Alzheimer’s. Enjoy!

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