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Eulogy from a Husband

by on March 26, 2011

The outpouring of love and support from her family and friends these past 3 ½ years has been overwhelming-the gifts, dinners, visits, calls, and messages.  Satomi was moved to tears on many occasions when she realized just how much love was out there for her and our family.

We had a group of about a dozen women that sat with Satomi for hours to give me time to work and to clear my head.  Their friendship and care eased Satomi’s suffering and anxiety.  We cannot thank them enough.

Of these women, there are a few that went beyond anything imaginable-Irene Teh, Brenda Cole, and Tina Ray-your love is beyond question.  Sandra Anderson and Akemi Nakanishi-we love you too.  Your support and insight gave me the confidence to manage Satomi’s care.  We couldn’t have done it without all of you.

Satomi’s needs changed many priorities in our daily life but we were determined to maintain a stable home for our girls.  We relied upon my Mom and Dad, Satomi’s Mom, her sisters-Hiromi & Kiyomi-and their families, and her brother-Isao.  With their help, Kandice and Jillian still had an enjoyable childhood and continued to excel in school.

Our final thank you is for all those that read my blog.  On difficult days my only outlet was writing.  To see the number of people that visited and presumably read my posts was flattering and motivational.  I rarely felt alone.

Compassionate, loyal, dedicated, modest, and intelligent are all words that I’m sure most of you-and many of our previous speakers-would use to describe Satomi.  While I agree completely, there’s much more to the Satomi I knew.

I respected her and her abilities.  She was independent, strong, determined, and accomplished in all areas of her life.

  • A 1480 SAT and a full academic scholarship to USC;
  • A BS degree in Exercise Science and a second BS in Physical Therapy from Cal State Long Beach;
  • A State-licensed Physical Therapist teaching patients to walk after Strokes and other brain injuries;
  • A professionally recognized Odori dancer with over 30 years of training experience.
  • Actively served her community.
  • Purchased her first home on her own.

Now this was an impressive woman; all this and a sweet person too?  After our first date, I just didn’t understand how someone so wonderful could still be single.

Our dating life was a bit mysterious.  It seemed that everyone suspected we were dating but no one knew for sure.  Satomi and I played along mostly for entertainment value.  The truth is that our relationship was progressing but we didn’t discuss exclusivity.  Since we spent all our free time together, I really didn’t think it was necessary until one infamous Valentine’s Day.  I was out of town and called to wish her a happy Valentine’s Day.  She was elusive and distracted so I knew something was going on.  Our Satomi was on a date when she answered her phone.  I was shocked.  It bothered me for the rest of my trip.  Immediately upon my return, I expressed my love and asked her to see me exclusively.  Our devious Satomi made me squirm and didn’t give me an answer for an hour.  While initially painful, I was quite happy with the outcome.

After years of friendship and dating, I learned of the source of her strength and better appreciated her inner struggles.  She was not super-human but almost.  This wonderful woman has not always had it easy.

Satomi loved being a mother and looked forward to teaching our girls of her life experience.  We spoke about it often and agreed on parenting philosophy.

As our girls grew, it became quickly obvious that she had some unresolved childhood issues.  Apparently, she was forbidden from many activities because of her age or being a girl; only to see her twin sisters be allowed to participate in the same activities at a much younger age.  She was a bitter woman.

Whenever I was stupid enough to imply that girls had to have an earlier curfew than boys, you would have thought I ran over her dog.  “That attitude is sexist BS.  My girls can stay out as long as… blah, blah, blah.”

Apparently, we don’t completely agree on parenting philosophy.

As our girls reach their infamous teenage years, those decisions are now left completely to me.  But don’t worry-I’ll still have Satomi sitting on my shoulder venting her bitterness and influencing my choices, “…that’s sexist BS…”

As is common with most married couples, we became complacent and over the years, took each other for granted.  We were not unhappy but things were not as they once were.  But then she got sick.

It took cancer for me to realize that I had been selfish and just how lucky I was to be married to such a wonderful woman.  It should never have taken so much for me to see what was so obvious.

My taking over her medical care was very difficult for her.  She knew that I hated all bodily fluids and avoided needles religiously.  She naturally questioned my decisions and complained.  I wanted to strangle her almost daily.  As she worsened, she finally accepted my care and our relationship changed immediately.  Things were pleasant and supportive; there was no apprehension.  It took cancer for us to finally share a bond of unconditional love that we had always strived for.  I was so lucky to have found it, even for a short time.

Satomi and I have struggled over the last 3 ½ years to find something positive that can come from this experience.  I’m still not sure what that could be, but there are obvious lessons that can be had:

  • Take your health care seriously-Be prudent.  Don’t be fooled into thinking youth will save you.  Satomi was still in her thirties when she was diagnosed.
  • Don’t skip that mammogram.  One-in-eight women will be afflicted with breast cancer in their lifetime.  One-in-eight.  There are 300 people in this chapel now-that’s 18 women and 18 families that will have to live through the nightmare of cancer.  Early detection is key to survival.
  • Hope for the best but plan for the worst.  Prepare.  Insurance, a will, important papers, etc.  Don’t convince yourself into thinking you’re going to live forever.
  • Appreciate what you have.  Time brings complacency but risk of loss will open your eyes.  Don’t let it come to that.  Look at your lives and appreciate all that you have.
  • Live life and enjoy it.  You never know what tomorrow will bring.

Having her by my side made me a better man.  I was proud to call her my wife.

We were all so blessed to have had Satomi in our lives.  The girls and I will miss and love her forever.

Thank you all for joining us today.

~Sean

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4 Comments
  1. Cheryl Kakurai permalink

    Perfect! Perfect! Perfect! What a truthful, beautiful, amazing eulogy.
    I couldn’t agree more w/your thoughts on staying one step ahead of one’s health & not taking anything for granted & finding a deep appreciation for what you have in the present. Cheers to you friend.

  2. Jenny Moore permalink

    How honored I am to have know and worked with Satomi at Tustin Rehab. I will forever be inspired not only by what a wonderful therapist she was, but also such an amazing woman. My heart goes out to you and your family. What a beautiful rememberance, for such a remarkable woman.

    Jenny

  3. Melissa permalink

    It was a beautiful service, Sean. I’m so glad that Bob and I were able to be there. You honored Satomi perfectly. Thank you for letting us be a part of your family’s life! We are blessed to know each of you. God bless you and remember you are not alone and YOU ARE LOVED!

    P.S. Tell my little “Jilly bean” I can’t wait to give her a BIG HUG tomorrow!

  4. Janice Bacon permalink

    Sean and all,

    Thank you for continuing to share, My thoughts and love have been with you and all and will continue to be.

    Love and strength to all

    Janice

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