In August, to celebrate the birth of my beloved, Dan, we took a long weekend trip to the area of Onjuku. Onjuku is in Chiba Prefecture on the east coast of Japan, with the beautiful sparkling sea of the pacific ocean to enjoy. We visited on a bank holiday weekend, seemingly with the rest of Tokyo!
We arrived on Saturday and enjoyed the day walking by the beach, trying to hunt down somewhere to eat. Turns out, Onjuku is pretty rural, and most people visit on day trips, meaning there are few provisions for those staying overnight. However, after some hangry words and hunger pains we finally managed eat and then headed back to our hostel for the night. The less said about the hostel the better, but we were enjoying the sea area and nature nonetheless.
On Sunday we planned a beach day but the weather was so hot, we worried about our pasty skin in the UV onslaught and so instead opted for a short train rain and hike. The area was absolutely beautiful, with jagged white cliffs, dramatic ocean swells, lots of greenery and fresh sea air. It was a lovely way to spend the morning and afternoon. We then travelled back to Onjuku and headed for some tasty eats in a local Hawaiian restaurant. There Dan and I enjoyed some of the most delicious pancakes we have ever eaten. Or that have ever been made.
After this beautiful and relaxing day we walked to the beach, where we sat together on the sand and watched the sun set. The waves were huge, hitting the shoreline with power and purpose. The sun set that day on us in Japan, and at the same time it set on the life of an absolute fighter in the UK, my incredible, strong, kind Grandma. I watched the waves break against the shore safe in the knowledge Grandma was now at peace.
The weekend that started out as a celebration for Dan’s birthday ended on a more difficult note. However, if I had to get the news of losing such a precious family member whilst I was living in Japan, I couldn’t have chosen a more peaceful location in which to hear that news. Losing a family member when you live abroad is profoundly difficult. It is hard to know how to cope with your grief. For my grieving, nature has been central in giving me grounding moments, moments of peace, and a break from my overactive mind. My looking to nature to support my grieving started the moment I had heard the news and I looked out to the powerful ocean in front of me.
I felt Grandma in the waves and on the breeze.