A letter from Carol Fujii in Thailand
October 15, 2011
Dear Family and Friends in Christ,
A time to be born and a time to die… On April 30, 2011, our dad, Masaru Hamada, breathed his last and went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We had no idea when he entered the hospital just days before that a blocked intestine, causing pneumonia, would result in his death. We were shocked when Dad’s doctor broke the news. As we shared this with tears, Dad remained calm, and assured us that he was ready. All through the night, with his beloved Jane at his side, Dad lucidly gave his last instructions and said his final goodbyes to family and beloved friends. One of Dad’s requests was that the entire family would have a chance to be together for his burial in Seattle, where he was born and where his parents have also been laid to rest.
These past six months have been a time of grieving and adjustment for Mom, Dad’s bride of 60-plus years, and for our family. It was a privilege to call Masaru Hamada our father. When I think of him, two words especially describe his character: loving and loyal. As a boy he was not able to spend much time with his family, so Dad dedicated himself to being a wonderful husband and father. He chose at times in his career as a meteorologist to forego career advancement in order to keep this priority. Our family was so blessed by his commitment—camping trips, taking us to church, library, symphony concerts and musicals, art galleries and museums, making homemade Christmas cards together, and later, personal time with each grandchild. And Dad introduced us to Jesus Christ in the same gentle way that Pastor Philip Jenkins did when Dad was given the opportunity to leave the WW II Japanese internment camps to live with the Jenkins family.
Dad was a loyal father, and besides that he and Mom were also good friends to others, opening their home to many others. Mom became well known for her delicious cuisine and Dad for his expertise in grilling. My father loved to bless others by being kind and considerate, thinking about and being generous toward others.
Perhaps the greatest legacy Dad left us is his love for and loyalty to Mom. As Mom has become more frail physically and mentally these past five years, Dad joyfully took on the role of her caretaker—cooking meals, doing laundry and house chores. I asked Dad earlier this year, “You must feel worn out from always having to take care of Mom.” His response: “Why, it is the least I can do for your Mom because she has loved and taken care of me all these years!” It has been a privilege to have witnessed a love like theirs and a wonderful example of marriage.
Mom has been adjusting well and now resides in a lovely assisted-living home in Los Alamos, New Mexico, near my brother. We are very grateful that I was able to have an extended time of leave to help Mom make this big transition and also to prepare for the family gathering and memorial service that Dad had requested. Seattle was typically rainy and overcast in the days preceding, but Saturday, October 8, was an absolutely beautiful, sunny autumn day—Dad must have made a special request! It was a wonderful time of worship, remembering, honoring and saying farewell to Dad as well as being reunited as a family. For the Fujiis, recently spread out over four continents, it was the first time in five years for us to be altogether. Dad’s request that we wait for this time was so good and wise—he was always thinking about others.
I have been reading and working through Understanding Grief by Alan Wolfert—thank you, Annabelle Wells, for the gift of this valuable resource! The author writes that in grieving, there may be no closure and the grieving process is unique for each individual. God has brought much healing as I have had this unhurried, extended time with Mom while working with my brother to finalize other matters and plan for the memorial in Seattle. It also gave me the opportunity to visit with our children, especially our two who have just returned safely to the United States: Joy (Afghanistan) and Karin (Cameroon). Thank you so much for your prayers and support, and meaningful expressions of sympathy.
The hope we have in Christ and His resurrection has taken on a deeper meaning and speaks peace and strength into our souls.
“We shall behold Him, O yes we shall behold Him
Face to face in all of His glory!
We shall behold Him, face to face
Our Savior and Lord…”
(Words from “We Shall Behold Him”)
Thanks be to God! We shall indeed be reunited with our loved ones who have gone before us. We look forward to that glorious reunion, and now continue on in the Master’s work until that Day.
With a grateful heart,
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 133
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 183