#176- Celebration of life for my best friend’s dad, Dr. A

*** Why I am getting an airplane ticket to Arizona right now?

On Wednesday the 23rd, I have received a sad email from my best friend (Suzie). Her father (Dr. A) passed away in Tucson, Arizona on the 23rd…

Since Suzie became my best friend 24 years ago, Dr. A was my second dad to me in U.S.A.

After I talked with Suzie on the phone on Wednesday early in the morning, I was in shock and I was walking around in my room for a while. My brain didn’t function. I did exactly the same thing when I lost my dad in 1994.

I couldn’t think well and I was numb to this sad news of Dr. A. Between purchased an airplane ticket to Tucson and made a reservation for a super shuttle to L.A.X., I was going around, around, around in my room so many times…I couldn’t believe about Dr. A's death.

Why he passed away? Why he passed away? Why he passed away? I kept asking myself. I couldn’t think of anything but Suzie’s dad (Dr. A).

At L.A.X. when I was eating a chicken sandwich and french fries, I was hoping… “I hope Dr. A had a nice last meal before he passed away”, because he loved food like me.

When Suzie’s brother (Mr. R) and his friend (Mr. K) picked me up at Tucson International Airport, I was still numb. I was still asking myself many “why?” “Why he has to leave from the earth?”, “why I am in Tucson now?”…

Around 11:00pm, I arrived at Suzie’s parent’s house. I hugged Suzie’s mom Ms. C and Suzie.

At the house, I was still numb and I felt like, “I am in a bad dream”…

*** It’s my turn to support Suzie…

When I lost my dad in 1994, I was all alone in U.S.A. (my family was in Tokyo, Japan), but Suzie, Suzie’s boyfriend (Mr. S is her husband now / he was my friend at that time, and I was the match maker for them) and Ms. A (my other best friend at that time) supported me (we went to Toi restaurant in Hollywood) late night before I leave for Tokyo, Japan.

So, at this time, it’s my turn to support Suzie for her sad time.

Next day (Thursday the 24th), there were so many people (Dr. A’s relatives and family friends), so many foods (Dr. A's relatives and friends brought lunch and dinner to the house) and so many flowers (from Dr. A's relatives and friends) in the house.

I really felt that he was a really lovely man and everyone loved him so much.

Suzie and I went to Dr. A’s medical practice office and picked up the flowers (given by Dr. A’s staff and his patients) and we greeted his staff. I really felt that Dr. A had a really nice life and a wonderful career when I saw his office (his staff and his patients).

*** An amazing story!

Suzie’s relative (Ms. P from New York) told us the amazing story on Thursday.

On Wednesday, when Ms. P was purchasing the airplane tickets (for Dr. A’s funeral) for Tucson, the agent of American Airline (the agent was in Charlotte, North Carolina) cried on the phone, because Dr. A saved agent’s husband’s life and the agent was very sad to hear about the news of Dr. A’s death.

Dr. A saved many people’s lives, so his former patients are everywhere in U.S.A.

There are so many wonderful stories like this one about Dr. A.

*** Celebration of life

Dr. A’s service held on Friday the 25th at the Jewish Community Center in Tucson.

The service had started with a beautiful music by his beautiful grandchildren (Suzie’s two daughters). They played Slumber by their violins.

His six grandchildren are so cute. Their speeches were so cute and lovely.

He was a lucky man. When he passed away, he surrounded by his wife Ms. C and his four children Mr. D, Mr. R, Mr. T and Suzie, who all loved and adored him.

Dr. A was born on November 11, 1936. While at medical school, he met the love of his life, Ms. C, who he married in July 1961 and together they shared a wonderful life for over 50 years. After graduating medical school, Dr. A served as a doctor in the United States Army, reaching the rank of Major and served in Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star, among other commendations.

Suzie told me that he saved Vietnamese’s lives as well. He was a very kind man for everyone in the world.

He opened his medical practice and specialized in internal medicine since 1969. He was helping and caring for thousands of patients. He also taught at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine and taught interns and residents at Tucson Medical Center. He served as a team physician for the Arizona Wildcats and volunteered at the Arizona Athletic Treatment Center. Dr. A's passion in life was helping others and caring for his patients. He volunteered his time with the Tucson Jewish Community Center, St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic, St. Joseph's Hospital and El Dorado Hospital.

I learned about how much Dr. A was a special person for many people. He helped many poor people’s lives without charging fees.

Dr. A’s oldest child, Mr. D’s speech was so touching and so wonderful. I learned about Dr. A through his speech. When Mr. D was age 12, he was thin and short, so he could cheat with his age for his movie ticket’s price, but Dr. A didn’t want him to cheat with his age and his movie ticket price. Dr. A was a very honest and generosity person. He taught a great lesson to his son.

Mr.D also mentioned about the quality of human being. He learned about kindness, compassion, honesty and sincerity from Dr. A. He said, “I would like to live like my father”. I think he is already like his father, because he has a wonderful career (he is a successful lawyer) and happy family (he has a beautiful wife Debbie and beautiful two sons).

My great memory of Dr. A is “his cute & warm smile”. Mr. D has cute & sexy smile from Dr. A.

Dr. A was very kind and a sweet person. His second son, Mr. R’s kindness and sweetness are from Dr. A.

He was a very organized person and he was a great cook. His third son, Mr.T has it all from him. Mr. T’s “perfect” perfectionist personality is from Dr. A. And Mr. T is a great cook. His talent of that is from his dad.

My best friend (Suzie) is also a great cook. Of course, she is a proud daughter (a youngest child) of Dr. A. Suzie has a successful life (a proud daughter, a successful career woman, a wonderful mother and a beautiful wife). It really makes sense that she is my proud friend, because she has a wonderful dad (& a wonderful mom & family & relatives).

Suzie’s speech was also touching like Mr. D. She decided to do speech last minutes, so she was not reading her note, and she spoke her feelings in the moment. It was so real and she touched many people’s hearts.

My other great memory of Dr. A is about “FOOD”. He always enjoyed his food. I love food and I always enjoy food. I believe that people who love food have a lot of energy and happy life, so when I met Dr. A at first time, I loved him right away! I can trust people who love food like him.

Yes, his best friends talked about him & food. There were so many funny stories about food & Dr. A. Dr. A was so lovely man. I am sure that people who know him loved him very much.

Dr. A ’s wife & Suzie’s mom, Ms. C is my hero. She is beautiful inside and out. She is such an intelligent career woman and a beauty queen. Her speech about Dr. A showed her wonderful & lovely life with Dr. A. It was the most special moment at the service.

Around 1000 people had attended this service and around 200 people came to the house after the service. Of course, there were so many delicious foods at the house. We had wonderful mourning time at the house.

Mr. S (Suzie’s husband) showed the movie of Dr. A’s 75 year birthday celebration (which Suzie & Mr. S made it together). The movie hit my head...“Dr. A is not around me anymore”… I shouldn’t cry for Dr. A, but I couldn’t help it at that moment. I really realized that I can’t see him in person anymore…

*** Dr. A visited me twice so far…

When I was thinking of him in my room on Wednesday morning, I saw a beautiful bird in my balcony. I have never seen that beautiful bird. Body was gray, but the head was red (Dr. A had a cute red hair).

I felt him at that moment. He enjoyed many hobbies, sports and traveling. Especially he was an avid bird watcher and poker player. I am sure that the bird (with red head) was him. He said hello to me.

On Sunday the 27th, when we (Suzie’s mom and Suzie's brothers etc) were hiking in Sabino Canyon (we walked 8.5 miles!), it was the second time that I felt him. We saw a beautiful red bird. It was so wonderful moment. I felt him again.

One of the Rabbi said at the service, “Dr. A’s death taught us to be strong”.

Yes, I agreed with him. My dad’s death taught me “to be strong”, and I am tougher now, because my two dads (my real dad and Dr. A) are in heaven.

By the way, the hiking was the best way to mourning Dr. A. I have many wonderful memories of him when I visited Dr. A and Ms. C with Suzie for Thanksgiving and Christmas many times. We always had a nice hiking time in Sabino Canyon.

At this time, I had a great conversation with Ms. C. Her philosophy of life is very intelligent & sophisticate. I learned wonderful thought from her during hiking.

I also had a nice conversation with Debbie (wife of Mr. D). She has such a lovely romantic story of her life. I really enjoyed her stories.

*** Life is about celebration

Arizona Daily Star wrote about him “Dr. A had many friends and a large family including six grandchildren who will remember him for his kindness, generosity, and zest for life”. I am very glad that I met him through my best friend Suzie.

Suzie always appreciates people and things. I really see and feel that her quality of the wonderful human being is from Dr. A.

Dr. A’s family & relatives and friends are so happy & cheerful people. I really feel that “like attracts like”.

Life is beautiful. Enjoy each moment and celebrate each moment is the key of happiness & celebrate our lives.

Happy everyday to you.

P.S. Thank you, Dr. A. You gave me so many beautiful memories. I am not going to say “good-bye” to you, because you didn’t say it in your life. I am going to say “take care” to you, because you always say it in your life. I hope to see you again. Until then, I keep enjoy my food and smile everyday like you did. Take care, Dr. A.

By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles May 28, 2012
Copyright © 2012 Yoko Fujimoto

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