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A few words on moms (for the family of Setsuko Nao Hamasaki)

[I was asked to say a few words at the funeral of a close family and personal friend.  Someone asked me to post it, so here it is.  Doug]

Setsuko Nao Hamasaki (March 3, 1924 - August 12, 2011)

As you've heard, our families have been close for a couple of generations.  And, I think I’m up here partly because I know what it's like to lose your mother.  Mine passed away several years ago, and I know there are people here who have suffered the same thing recently.

The natural order of things has us losing both our parents, but that doesn’t make it an easy thing. And moms are unique in ways that make their loss particularly deep.  

Moms and dads are different.  And I don’t think it's exclusively a Japanese thing, but for some reason sons think we are descended from our fathers.  Sometimes to the extent that we are named after them.  But that’s not true.  We come from our mothers.  When we are born, she’s known us for a while already.  She's known us from the very beginning.  On the other hand some of us have never even met our fathers.  Statistically, some of us here.  Am I right?

Now, Iʻm going to describe something that happened, something true, something that happened to all of us.  You will all know it's true and that it really happened, but no one here will actually remember it because it happened before we were capable of forming memories, before we could even perceive very clearly.  This happened within a few minutes of our being born, most likely.  But let me describe it, and you follow along in your mind and tell me it's true.

Now at some point we become consumed with “becoming.”  Of learning, and behaving, and appearing, and that sort of thing.  But it wasn’t like that when we were first born.  We were completely helpless. 

And when we were in that state, when we were first born and capable of nothing, our mothers held us in her arms, and looked down at us.  And what she saw was the most amazing, the most wonderful, the most beautiful thing in the entire Universe. We didn't have to do anything.  We didn't have to be anybody.  And she would do anything and everything for us. True?

You will never ever meet anyone else who feels that about you.  Ever.  No one.   No one else is even capable of it.  The one person that felt that way about you is gone.  The one person that felt that way about you is gone when you lose your mother.  That's why it's such a profound loss.  That’s why it is so sad.

But you should feel sad.  While we’re all here for you, you can feel as sad as you will ever feel about this.  Because we feel it too, we feel the loss.  And we are all here to help you, we are all here to be with you.

I want to thank all of you for this opportunity to address the Hamasaki family.  Thank you.

H. Doug Matsuoka
22 August 2011 


  1. Im so sorry for what happened to your mom. wherever she is I know that she's in hands of our GOD. It will be also painful to me or to every person if their mother will also pass away. I guess we are really more attached to our mothers. Thank you for this post, I enjoyed reading it much. you can also visit this site to read more


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