"Inspiring Message from a Life Touched by Tragedy: My Wife's Journey"
A few years ago, my wife, H, left us at the tender age of 40, succumbing to cancer and leaving behind me and our five children. Without the anchor of faith, I might have been consumed by grief, unable to focus on work or life itself.
Yet today, I find solace in carrying hope within my heart. This hope springs from the certainty that "life is not confined to this world alone." I feel the presence of my wife watching over us from the beyond.
Through my wife's passing, I would like to share the lessons and insights that I've gained and experienced.
The Shock of a Sudden Diagnosis
"K-san, I have cancer…"
One spring day, my wife called my workplace in an anxious tone.
"Lately, I've been feeling discomfort around my chest," she said, sharing the results of her medical examination. The diagnosis: "Scirrhous gastric cancer." It was an aggressive type, swiftly progressing, and challenging to treat.
"Immediate hospitalization and surgery are necessary. By removing two-thirds of the stomach, there's a chance for recovery."
Following the physician's strong recommendation, we proceeded with the surgery. But when we were called by the doctor after the procedure...
"Unfortunately, the cancer in your wife's case was more advanced than anticipated. It had spread to nearby organs. Although we removed the entire stomach, it was impossible to eradicate all cancer cells. She has a prognosis of... anywhere from one month to six months left."
The shock was too overwhelming for words.
As I listened to the doctor's explanation, a sense of regret surged within me – why hadn't I noticed earlier? Tears welled up from the deep well of apology.
Knowing "Life is Eternal" and Yet…
My wife and I are followers of Happy Science. We have learned that the essence of human beings lies in their spiritual nature, and even after the physical body perishes, a new life begins in the other world.
However, when confronted with the impending death of my wife, I was utterly shaken.
"I must remain strong." I repeated this mantra, heading towards my wife's hospital room. She had asked me to be honest about the surgery's outcome, so I conveyed the doctor's explanation to her.
"Stay strong," I urged while battling my own turmoil.
"K-san, don't worry. I have faith in El Cantare. No matter what happens, I believe. But I'll do my best to live for another four or five years."
My wife, with her perennial smile, didn't waver. From the moment of learning her diagnosis until undergoing surgery, she had apparently sorted her feelings and steeled herself for the journey.
However, I couldn't muster such unwavering equanimity.
The Kindness of My Wife
My wife and I were classmates in high school. We started dating then and got married at 24.
I worked tirelessly as a salesman for a transportation company, leaving little time for our family from the beginning of our marriage. She occasionally expressed her dissatisfaction with my long hours, but after we encountered Happy Science's teachings, her remarks shifted from complaints to comforting words like "Thank you for your hard work." This transformation surprised me, and led me to explore Happy Science's philosophy. Encouraged by my wife, I joined the faith.
While I implemented the success and career teachings from books like "Invincible Thinking" and "The heart of work," I realized that my initial approach to the teachings was driven by work and success, not a deep faith.
In contrast, my wife seemed to resonate more profoundly with the Buddha's compassion. Her faith made her more compassionate and strong. She always greeted our children and me with a smile, never ceasing to express gratitude with "Thank you."
Even in her relationships with other mothers, she served as a mediator during disputes and never spoke ill of others. She earnestly spread the teachings, often writing letters to friends and acquaintances recommending Happy Science's books.
After she returned home for home care in May, her kindness remained unchanged. She would smile every day as she bid me goodbye, reminding me to take care of myself.
However, beneath my response of smiles, my heart was consumed by the fear of losing her within a few months.
A Letter on Father's Day
About a month into her home care, on Father's Day in mid-June, my wife handed me a letter, saying, "This is my gratitude for you."
"To Mr. K. Thank you for always working hard for the family. (…) I believe that I am who I am today because of your kindness and encouragement, supported by your strength and the teachings of Happy Science. With deep gratitude for the love of you, our family, and the fellow believers of Happy Science, I extend my appreciation to the benevolence of Buddha. I hope to fulfill this life properly and that we shall be connected again in the next life…"
Tears blurred the words on the letter. I wiped my eyes and read it repeatedly. Through her letter, I saw the profound faith my wife held and the profound gratitude she extended.
My wife, who truly believed in El Cantare, illuminated our lives with her kindness and love. She thanked those around her and, above all, she thanked El Cantare. She aimed to live every moment fully, all the while being grateful for the love surrounding her.
She taught me that I had been too self-centered in my grieving, focusing only on myself while failing to see the love around me. Through her unwavering faith and the love she radiated, my wife showed me the path to transcend sorrow and guilt.
Afterwards, I found the strength to support my wife, who was continuing her home treatment while facing the onslaught of sadness and despair within myself. I would pray to El Cantare and draw solace from learning the truths of Buddhism while continuously uplifting my wife's spirits.
Readmission to the Hospital
While she was in the midst of home treatment, her condition gradually deteriorated. By late August, she often wore a pained expression due to abdominal pain and fatigue. Then, right at the beginning of September, she collapsed at home from unbearable pain and had to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance for readmission.
The doctor informed us, 'If she needs to be readmitted, she won't be able to come back home.' This news made me brace myself for her impending passing.
Arranging my work schedule, I visited my wife's hospital room nearly every day.
'K-san, thank you for everything,' she would say with a smile on her pale face whenever I came to see her.
Even during the night, as I sat by her bedside, she would worry about me being tired. Despite the severe pain and exhaustion she endured, she was always concerned for my well-being.
In return, I tried my best to remain positive despite my grief, and I would read passages from the books of Happy Science to her, hoping to provide some relief.
As her strength waned, my wife gradually lost her ability to speak.
One afternoon, two weeks into her hospital stay, I received a phone call from the hospital after returning to work for a short while.
'Please come to the hospital immediately,' they said.
I rushed to the hospital with our children.
She was surrounded by doctors and nurses, lying on the bed with an oxygen mask covering her face.
When I and our children held her hand, she managed to half-open her eyes and smiled faintly. Our children were all in tears.
'I'm sorry for all the trouble I've caused you,' I sobbed and apologized, and she responded by gently shaking her head and smiling.
Then, with trembling hands, she removed her oxygen mask and attempted to say something.
'Are you worried about the children?' I asked.
In response, she slowly shook her head to indicate it wasn't about that.
Though her voice was weak, her lips formed the words. With those words, she peacefully closed her eyes, maintaining a serene smile on her face, and quietly passed away. We were left in tears, helpless and heartbroken."
Her Final Message
At her memorial service, attended by around 700 people, it was evident that my wife had touched many lives with her gentle demeanor and kindness.
I've been working diligently to share my wife's faith with her friends, introducing them to Happy Science's teachings. Still, even with these efforts, there are times when a feeling of loneliness and self-blame creeps in when I'm alone.
On the thirtieth day after her passing, just before dawn, I woke up to a vision. In the dim light, I saw my wife wearing sky-blue attire, smiling radiantly.
"H, where are you now?"
"I'm near the threshold to Heaven, studying about it."
She responded with her familiar smile.
According to Happy Science's teachings, spirits who've recently passed away study about the afterlife at the entrance to the spiritual realm. Then, they return to the appropriate realm according to their state of mind.
"H, does the other world truly exists?"
"It does. It absolutely does."
"Then, about forty years from now, when I complete my journey in this world and cross over, will you come to greet me? And in my next life, let's be together again."
Her form gradually faded away, and when I came to my senses, it was already morning.
After that, until the forty-ninth day after her passing, I received messages from relatives and friends who shared dreams of meeting H or hearing her voice.
Though the physical body may die, the soul continues to live. Humans are not confined to this world alone; they go through cycles of life and death, honing their souls through the process. These experiences reinforced the understanding that death is not the end but a transformation to a different state of being.
In the contemplation of my own mortality, I witnessed the steadfast life my wife led under the shelter of faith, right until her final moments. And through the messages she sent from the world beyond, I gradually found peace in my heart.
With boundless gratitude
Since my wife's passing, I've been able to guide ten individuals towards the faith of Happy Science. Among them is a dear friend of my wife, who, upon observing her, recognized the beauty of this spiritual path and chose to embrace it.
Interestingly, on the night preceding her readmission to the hospital, my wife and I had this conversation:
"I wish to guide numerous souls to the embrace of El Cantare, alongside you," she said.
"OK, Let's engage in missionary work together," I responded.
Even in the face of death, her passion for missionary work burned brighter. Although we can no longer jointly reach out to those destined for our guidance in this world, I sense that my wife supports my continued spiritual endeavors from the realm beyond.
Though marked by sadness, this ordeal has granted me the insight that without my wife's illness and passing, I might have never known the profound joy of truly believing in El Cantare. With heartfelt gratitude, I acknowledge the boundless compassion that supports us all.
And to my beloved H,
Thank you for sharing this lifetime with me. Carrying the profound faith and love you bestowed upon me in my heart, I am determined to continue spreading the teachings of El Cantare to many others in the days to come.