A terrible thing has happened. My mother-in-law, who until now has been very independent, tooling around the countryside in her little white car, totalled said automobile yesterday. She’s fine, physically, but she endured quite a shock. So not only has she decided not to buy a new car, but also she is giving up driving. Oh. No.

My mother-in-law is one of those glass-is-half-empty people who thinks she will die soon, although she doesn’t have any life-threatening illnesses, and who has been calling herself old for a long time even though she’s still in her 60s. My grandparents enjoyed an active social life into their eighties. My 91-year-old grandfather (the only one left) just moved into a retirement complex (his choice), but he still drives a car, has a very sharp mind, and makes his own decisions.

Westerners, I think, tend to be loathe to give up personal freedom even when they are incapable of living alone, but Japanese, like my mother-in-law seem to embrace dependence.


5 thoughts on “Crash

  1. Sounds traumatic, in many ways. I wonder if this “embracing dependence” thing is more common with Japanese nationals than Japanese Americans. My Japanese (isse, first generation) grandmother lived alone and fiercely independent until she was 96, and my mother had to be dragged kicking and screaming to live with us a few years ago. Both of them seem mortified to be dependent on us for anything.

  2. Susan, I think that your grandmother must have had quite a bit of spunk to leave her country and start a new life in another. My mother-in-law has lived in more or less the same area all her life. She’s a different breed.

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