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Living in KyotoParentingAging

An Unexpected Bonus

By March 15, 20163 Comments

I experienced an unexpected bonus as a result of writing a recent post about my Mom and Dad.  I felt their presence in a new way. Somehow, writing about them brought them closer to me.  I understood that they are still with me.

Today, on Facebook, I came across this quote from Thich Nhat Hanh which expresses the same sensations I experienced in a more articulate and eloquent way.


…The day my mother died, I wrote in my journal, “A serious misfortune of my life has arrived.” I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.

l opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants. and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet… wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine alone but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. These feet that I saw as “my” feet were actually “our” feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil.

From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time…

– Thich Nhat Hanh, in “No Death, No Fear”.


Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.


  • ann starck says:

    I’d meant to write after reading the post about your mother. It brought back the memory of (is this possible?) the last time I saw you. My dad had died; my mom had Alzheimer’s. We still lived on the boat in the Keys. You said your ?aunt? had told you that the memories of our aged/decaying parents would fade gradually and that we would be left with returning memories of them in their vigor and joy. This has been true. Belatedly and anew, I thank you. The timing was especially poignant for me now, because my last cat=child to this childless couple died 2 weeks ago and I needed comfort from any corner. Ann

  • Eleanor MORIARTY says:

    Very beautiful your parents were so loving -your mother supported your young emerging talent very early on. I remember her being a gentle pretty dainty woman who focuses on her daughters needs.

  • novaloverro says:

    thank you for sharing. beautiful. people always live on inside of us – we are never without them.