I lost both of my parents before the age of twenty. My wife, I remember, once told you of this. They both died of the same disease. As my wife mentioned, much to your surprise at the time, they died almost together, one right after the other. The truth is, my father died of abdominal typhus, a terrible disease, and my mother contracted the same while tending him.
I was their only son. We were quite well off, and I was raised in comfortable surroundings. Looking back on it all, if my parents hadn't died, or if even one had survived, I believe I would still to this day enjoy that same sense of comfort.
Their passing left me vacant and alone. I was lacking in knowledge, lacking in experience, and lacking in discernment. When my mother died, we had not even told her my father was already gone. I don't know if she sensed his passing, or whether she believed, as those around her asserted, that he was on his way toward recovery. I do know that she placed her cares in my uncle's hands. Once, when I was present with them, she gestured to me and appealed to him for my care. My parents had given me their blessing to leave for Tōkyō, and this too seemed to be on her mind. She managed the word "Tōkyō" before my uncle broke in to assure her that all would be fine. He then turned to me and praised my mother's fortitude, meaning perhaps her stamina under duress of high fever. When I think back on this now, however, I'm not fully convinced that my mother intended the words of that day as her last.