香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「どっちもアリ」でいい /東京

(Mainichi Japan) July 17, 2011
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: A bit of both worlds
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「どっちもアリ」でいい /東京

I recently read Setsuko Tsumura's collection of stories titled "Henro Michi" (Pilgrimage route), a book narrated in the first person that focuses on the time around her husband's death from illness.

As some readers may know, her husband, whom she was with for many years, was the novelist Akira Yoshimura.

The woman featured in the book clearly holds her husband close to her heart, and devotes herself to looking after him even after he falls ill.

However, she feels she failed to grasp her husband's feelings in the closing period of his life -- something she continues to blame herself for.
In the book, comments such as the following are common:

"In a marriage spanning 50 years, there must have been happy and fun times, but all I remember are the regrets from the week before his death."

The woman's children and acquaintances tell her, "You did well," "He lived a happy life," but no matter how much they console her, she can't snap out of her mood.

To escape the oppressive feelings inside her she goes on a "pilgrimage" tour and hot spring therapy trip, but all that wells up inside her is regret.

During this time, of course, the woman is holding down a job and deftly dealing with issues associated with her late husband.

It occurred to me that there must be many people like this in the world.

Others tell them, "You must be happy," and these people don't focus too much on their own sadness or pain. 外からは「幸せでしょう」と言われ、自分も悲しみや苦しみをあまり見せない。

They can carry out their daily work and lives without any real problems.

But underneath this outward appearance, they are filled with regrets, anger, hurt and despair, and these feelings don't fade with time.

No doubt there are people who live for decades with this deep darkness in their hearts without anybody else knowing.

That's not to say these people's lives are not worth it.

It's just that the faces they show to others and the ones inside their hearts are different.

They laugh but inside, the tears are flowing.

And sometimes, those feelings probably trade places.

I believe that such complexities and contradictions add depth to these people's character.

The other day when I was visiting Shikoku on a business trip, I saw a poster at Takamatsu Airport advertising pilgrimages.

On it was the phrase "Looking back, everything was fun."

It was the opposite to how Tsumura felt, but it was not a lie.

Sometimes people can think, "Ah, life is full of fun," and then the next instant they are thinking "There's nothing fun at all."

But I don't worry if they're inconsistent or if they have a dual nature.

A bit of both worlds is OK.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2011年7月12日 地方版

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