On March 3, my stepfather, Yoshi, passed away. I spoke at the service and this is what I said that day:
Yoshi, Yoshi, Yoshi….
Your death has been a great shock and has left us all in a state of wonder…
.. is this actually happening?
.. are we really here?
We still had so much to do together…
we wanted another conversation,
another game at the golf course,
another round of drinks at Clancy’s.
Yoshi, Yoshi, Yoshi…
I’ve known Yosh for 27 years, which is most of my life. When I was a young girl Mom and I were on our own for a while. Then Yosh came along and he changed our lives – for that I will always be grateful. You see Yoshi helped make one of my dreams come true. When I was a little girl I always asked Mom for a little brother or sister. You can imagine what that must have been like for her – a single mother of an only child and all I wanted was a sibling. Six years after Mom & Yosh met at Frank’s wedding, Jeff came into our lives and one of my childhood dreams came true – I had a little brother.
Jeff – I see so much of Yoshi in you,
in the way you smile,
the way you hold your camera,
in the way you two would critique each others’ golf swings…
You are your father’s son. How lucky are we that we get to look at you and be reminded of Yoshi – and he was such a good man.
Always generous with his time, he was so helpful and would do anything for anyone, all you had to do was ask and he would
sharpen your scissors,
unclog your drain or
do your taxes.
Whatever you needed he was there to help out.
The morning he was rushed to the hospital was also the morning my husband, Mark, and I were scheduled to move into our new house. As the paramedics were preparing Yosh to go to the hospital he said, “I can’t go, I’m supposed to help Melanie move today.”
And that was Yosh – always thinking of everyone else.
He was so caring and thoughtful and when I look at the faces in this room today I see all of the love and kindness he projected into this world being reflected back to him. His unique charm and one of a kind personality drew us all toward him.
Yosh had a lot of skills and talents, most of which he’d gladly tell you about – not to say that he was arrogant or conceited – no – he was just very confident in his abilities. In Yosh’s mind he was
a pro golfer,
a semi-professional photographer,
a successful fisherman,
a well seasoned traveler,
a man of style and class with great taste in music – he could have been a member of the Brat Pack in Las Vegas.
And if Yosh had a past life before this one, then he would have been a Samurai.
He was such a proud Japanese man and loved to share his heritage with all of us. Yoshi and his mother taught me how to make Origami and now that I make pottery for a living I’m often told my work looks like it has a Japanese influence, of course it does – that’s Yoshi.
He was the eldest child and a son, a position that brought a great deal of tradition and duty with it – duties he didn’t hesitate to carry through. He had a very deep love and respect for his parents and his sister Yoko and the loyalty he felt towards them never wavered but only strengthened over time.
Yosh was a unique man, I don’t think you’d be able to find another like him. His charisma and sense of humour won him many friends all over the world.
I will miss hearing that infectious laugh – I think we all will.
But what I want you to know is that his wit carried him through into his final hours here on this Earth. I know this because one of the nurse in the ICU said to me, “He’s got a great sense of humour.” I told her she was right and that he’d also want her to know that he was a great golfer as well.
Yosh forged his own path through this world and he lived life to the absolute fullest. When we were thinking of a verse or collection of words to describe Yosh there was only one thing that came to mind, the lyrics to one of his most favourite songs by one of his most favourite singers – the song My Way by Frank Sinatra. Whenever he played this song he made a point if telling me it was his favourite, then he would sing along with Frank word for word. And the song describes Yosh perfectly –
And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m ceratin
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and ev’ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way.
Yosh – you indeed do it your way and though 27 years with you was not nearly enough I am ever so grateful for the time we had together.
Thank you for changing our lives.