The Shining Lady
Tsuyajyo. My grandmother’s name, meaning “the shining lady”.
500yen coins which Tsuyajyo collected to give me and my little sister. Hide-and-seek in a morning after I stayed a night at their house. I have many sweet, fragmentary memories of her.
Tsuyajyo started to have symptoms of dementia around 2009. My mother took care of her mother who could hardly do the basic things like eating or taking a bath. She was irritated for Tsuyajyo starting to be a person who she has never seen as her mother at that time.
It was 2012 that Tsuyajyo joined a care home. Around this time I started to photograph Tsuyajyo and people around her especially my mother. While my mother passed her responsibility to care givers, she still goes to see Tsuyajyo almost every day as if that is her duty. “I just wish her laugh once a day.” she said. I visit her too and was often amazed by how she laughs. I felt surprised when she grips my hand strong, saying, “I want to grip your hand strong until my blood pipes burst.” I took notes of what she said, or else these memories just slip off from me.
She moved to the hospital in 2018 where she passed away in January 2020 at the age of 100. It was just before the pandemic so we could be with her. I saw her slowly stopped breathing and her organs functioning. Just a personal story of my family, to be continued.