A week or more passed with no change in Father's condition. During that time, I wrote a long letter to my brother in Kyūshū and had my mother write to my sister. I was convinced that these were the last letters we'd write them concerning Father's health. We indicated in both letters that when the time came we would send word by telegram, on receipt of which they should come at once.
My brother was steeped in his work, and my sister was expecting a child, so neither could be called home unless the moment demanded it. At the same time, I dreaded the thought of them making the journey only to arrive too late. The decision on when to summon them was mine, and they couldn't know how heavily it weighed on me.
"I can't give you a definitive answer. All I can tell you is prepare yourselves. The critical stage could come any time now."
These were the words of the doctor whom I'd fetched from the station in town. I talked with my mother, and we decided to ask him to send us a nurse from the clinic. Father looked strangely at the woman in white who arrived at his bedside.
Father had known for some time that his illness was terminal. Even so, he had not yet acknowledged the actuality of death.
"When I'm better, I'll go see Tōkyō once more. One never knows the number of one's days. One has to act while one can."
"Take me with you when you go."
My mother had no choice but to humor him.
There were times too when he felt terribly despondent.
"After I'm gone, take good care of your mother for me."