Sayonara


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From left to right: Uncle Fizzer, Mom, Auntie Sue, Uncle Randy

My Uncle Fizzer (Harry Sasaki) passed away last night, only six weeks after my mother, (his baby sister) died. This leaves only one Sasaki sibling left out of nine.

He was a simple man, and I know he didn’t want a fuss made upon his passing. So I only want to say how much I admired his spirit–a quiet, gentle spirit that stood quite strong when necessary.

I have many memories of my uncle–his weekend visits when we were little and he brought us paper to write and color on, his unfailing ability to remember details even into his 90s, his dedication to a healthy lifestyle, (and the way he used to scold my mother because in his eyes, she didn’t take care of herself), his ability to do tasks (like his taxes and investments) even when I refused to do my own.

But my favorite and most lasting memories of Uncle Fizzer will be those of him with his 35mm camera around his neck. He seemed always ready to take a picture until the time came to actually take it. Then, we’d laugh about how long it took him to focus. Even today, with our iPhones perched and ready to snap, if someone takes too long, we say, “Come on, Uncle Fizzer, take the picture.”

In our own quirky way, it’s one way we’ll continue to remember and honor our dear uncle.

So, to both my mom and Uncle Fizzer, we don’t say “Goodbye,” but “Sayonara.”

For Sayonara, literally translated, “Since it must be so,” of all the good-byes I have heard is the most beautiful. Unlike the Auf Wiedershens and Au revoirs, it does not try to cheat itself by any bravado “Till we meet again,” any sedative to postpone the pain of separation. It does not evade the issue like the sturdy blinking Farewell. Farewell is a father’s good-bye. It is – “Go out in the world and do well, my son.” It is encouragement and admonition. It is hope and faith. But it passes over the significance of the moment; of parting it says nothing. It hides its emotion. It says too little. While Good-bye (‘God be with you’) and Adios say too much. They try to bridge the distance, almost to deny it. Good-bye is a prayer, a ringing cry. “You must not go – I cannot bear to have you go! But you shall not go alone, unwatched. God will be with you. God’s hand will over you” and even – underneath, hidden, but it is there, incorrigible – “I will be with you; I will watch you – always.” It is a mother’s good-bye. But Sayonara says neither too much nor too little. It is a simple acceptance of fact. All understanding of life lies in its limits. All emotion, smoldering, is banked up behind it. But it says nothing. It is really the unspoken good-bye, the pressure of a hand, “Sayonara.”

― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, North to the Orient

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15 Responses to Sayonara

  1. Linda Apple says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your Uncle Fizzer. It makes me feel as though I knew him too. I love you sister-friend.

  2. Steve says:

    Thank you sweetheart that is a beautiful tribute. I love the quote.

  3. Jan, I’m sorry to hear this, especially so close to your mom’s passing. Your uncle sounds like a wonderful man and I’m glad you’ll have an everyday way to remember him when taking photos. I think he’d get a kick out of that.

    janet

  4. So sorry, Jan. This passing of an era is so poignant. Ganbatte ne.

  5. Dear Jan,

    You have such a rich history. Thank you for sharing it with so many of us. Uncle Fizzer sounds like a wonderful man You’ve written a lovely tribute.

    Shalom and peace of gaman,

    Rochelle

  6. sallyjadlow says:

    So sorry for your loss, Jan. He sounds like a wonderful uncle.

  7. Mustang.Koji says:

    I am sorry for your recent losses, Jan. At times, it seems to pile on and when you just accept one thing, something else happens. Like your mother’s siblings, my dad is the last one out of seven.

    Perhaps you know this because of your research but “sayonara” is written “さようなら” in hiragana or ”左様なら” in kanji. I agree with your interpretation; it is not a “hard” good-bye. To me, it is like a wave of your hand while you say, “OK. See ya.” After the Occupation took hold, sayonara was slowly replaced with bye-bye (バイバイ).

  8. Pingback: My 2015 Christmas Letter | Jan Morrill Writes

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