Japanese Twitter user @HarukazeMi’s daughter Tsubaki was born with only one ventricle, and faced from multiple cardiovascular issues, including pulmonary vein stenosis and hypoxia. She also struggled with asplenia and gastroenteropathy, conditions affecting the spleen and stomach.
Though @HarukazeMi provided her child with all the love and medical care she could, Tsubaki recently passed away at the age of 14. Along with making funeral arrangements, @HarukazeMi then had to sort through Tsubaki’s personal effects, including the bag her daughter always carried with her on her frequent hospital stays.
Inside the bag, @HarukazeMi found this notebook.
Flipping to the very back, @HarukazeMi found “Mama!!” written in large letters, and as she turned the pages, each one had another message.
▼ “I love you. I love you so much.”
▼ “I’ll always be rooting for you, as hard as I can. I’ll always be watching you.”
▼ “Whether I’m in heaven or hell. So…”
▼ “Pick yourself up, and hang in there. Let’s play together again in the next world, OK?”
Tsubaki didn’t show the messages to @HarukazeMi before she passed, and the discovery both startled and deeply moved the mother. “When did she write this?” @HarukazeMi asks. “Did she just write this right now?”
That isn’t the only message Tsubaki had for her mother either.
Among the other words the 14-year-old left in her notebook are:
“Mama, when you reading this, I think I’ll already be gone from this world, and you’ll be feeling sad.”
“You spent so much money on me, and gave me so many things, so many memories, and so much love. You gave me life. You bought me pets…so many hamsters…Thank you. I had so much fun, and I didn’t want to die.”
“Mama, if you had a magic card that could bring people back to life, but you had to give up your own, would you use it to bring me back? Please don’t. That wouldn’t make me happy. You are the person you are because of who I am, and I am the person I am because of who you are.”
For her last written words, Tsubaki puts on a brave face. “OK, OK” she writes, switching gears and listing the top 10 foods she wants to eat and her top 10 favorite animals (with hamsters at the top of the list).
“That’s just how Tsubaki was,” @HarukazeMi says, “cheerful and playful.” Nevertheless, the pain of loss is still fresh for the grieving mother, her husband, and Tsubaki’s six-year-old brother. “I wish I had given you even more hugs,” @HarukazeMi says. “I miss you, Tsubaki.”
With the notebook messages being addressed to @HarukazeMi directly, she was unsure how her daughter would feel about her sharing them with the rest of the world, but ultimately decided that Tsubaki would understand.
“My daughter probably intended for only me, her mother, to see these, and she might not like my showing them to other people. I’m sorry, Tsubaki.
But it is my earnest hope that through knowing her kindness, grace, intelligence, and strength, that other people will feel something in their hearts too, even as they shed tears.
Tsubaki, I am so proud of you.”
In speaking with @HarukazeMi, she told us “My daughter used to ask why she had to be born with heart disease, and I believe that in sharing her story with others something good may come from what she had to suffer through.” Fourteen years is, by any measure, a tragically short life for a human being, and it will always be sad to think of what more Tsubaki could have done had fate given her more time. Still, 14 years is time enough to form bonds that will never be forgotten, and to serve as a reminder to always cherish the ones we love and who love us.
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