Ｒev. Takayuki Ashikaga 法師
ISBN 13: 9780912624204
The thoughts of Rev. Ashikaga; head minister of Anyo Temple 安養寺, Kobe 神戶, Japan, a fukyoshi-a teacher of Jodo-Shinshu, also a prison chaplain for 35 years.
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin | Dharma / Dharma July 2007
www. sjbetsuin. com, 1 July 2007 [cached]
The article I was introducing was a portion of a talk given by the scheduled Japanese speaker, Rev. Takayuki Ashikaga, for a BCA Buddhist Women's Associations Conference held in Los Angeles a number of years ago. I sometimes introduce articles such as this in the hope that it will encourage more people to attend the conference.
In this article, Rev. Ashikaga was recounting his experience in losing his thirty-six year old son to cancer. Apparently, it was a relatively rare form of cancer that strikes one in some 200,000 in Japan with very little hope of remission. There were a number of poignant details that were raised, but the part that struck me was the affect of chemotherapy on the son and his fixation with food toward the end.
This struck me because it reminded me of my father and his bout with cancer. In reflection, the form of cancer must have been very similar as well, but the reaction to the chemotherapy was even more strikingly alike. Rev. Ashikaga's son decided not to undergo the third round of chemotherapy because it caused him to suffer so greatly. It seemed to have felt like a lid had been placed on his stomach and nothing would go down, even if he happened to have the energy to eat. My father described his feelings in a similar manner. He dreaded his treatments and said he had no desire to eat and even when he was able to eat, he could not seem to keep anything down. It would take the better part of a week to get to the point where he could eat anything and keep it down. By then, it was time for his next treatment. It created a depressing and, seemingly, endless cycle.
Even in this situation, on one of his last visits to his son in the hospital, Rev. Ashikaga noticed a book, a food magazine by his pillow. When he asked him about this, the son replied that since they did not feed him much and nothing tasted good at the hospital, he was planning on what he might want to eat when he got out. My father was the same way. He would often talk about wanting to eat this or that or that when he got better he wanted to go to a particular place to eat a special dish there.