Beautifully poignant animated video tells story of a mother's love

The funeral services provider “Kurashi no Tomo” in Japan holds an annual competition for letters written by those who wish to communicate their thoughts and feelings to people who have already passed away. One of these winning letters has been reproduced into a flip-book animation by a Japanese artist & comedian who goes by the name of Tekken.

A man who has lost his mother in a tragic traffic accident returns home from her funeral and notices that one of his mother’s dresser drawers is open. As he looks in, he is transported back in time and discovers something about his mother he never knew before.

Here is the original letter:

“My Mother's Supporter Braces

My father fell ill in 2000, and he gradually lost his abilities to move. My mother embraced the role of carrying my father, who is a lot larger than her, on her back, up and down the stairs. When I’d be back visiting, I offered to help, but each time she would laugh and say, 'I'm okay, it's okay, I wouldn’t want you to hurt your back.' Then she would shoulder my father with an air of long practice, and walk up and down the stairs.

It was after she had sent my father to day-service, and was on her way to go shopping that my mother was hit by a dump truck that had ignored the traffic light and turned left, killing her.

That same morning, I had called her as always to ask her how my father was doing. She had told me simply that everything was as usual. I asked her, 'Do you have any pains in your body? Don’t overdo it.' My mother laughed as usual and said, 'I’m OK, it’s okay, I’ve never had shoulder pain in my life, so I’ll be fine.' That was the last time. Three hours later, she passed away in the hospital before I was able to get there. 

I will never forget how I had to tell my father that she had died, as well as the sorrow and the sadness I felt from the people close to her.

When the funeral was over, I opened one of the drawers of my mother's dresser and found various types joint supporters and braces. There were so many that it was almost overflowing. 

With my hands holding onto that drawer, I couldn’t stop crying. I thought about the pain she must have endured, and felt the piercing sense of shame sinking into my bones. I couldn’t even push the drawer back in. I realized then that her words 'It's okay, it's okay, I’ve never had shoulder pain in my life, it's okay,' had been a lie. She told me that so I wouldn't worry. She had carried my father on her back climbing up and down the stairs, all while living with all the aches and pains in her shoulders and knees.

I had never tried to understand her situation and blindly believed in her words that she was all right and okay. In truth, it may be that I knew, and being the eldest son in the family and living far away, I was perhaps relieved each time my mother said 'It’s okay, it’s okay' telling me that there is nothing I can do to help.

When I see her in heaven, I’d like to give my mother many long and slow massages on her shoulders, and joke about the time I found a heap of supporter braces in her drawer. Thank you, Mom. Thank you so very much."

Many of us have had a special person in our lives — someone who may no longer be with us. Someone who is, or was, always at our side, always caring, seemingly strong, and eternally supportive. It’s a pity that many of us are unable to notice how much they have given us until the moment they are gone. And this video sums up that missed opportunity perfectly.

Perhaps it could even provide a nudge, to take the chance when we have it to express our appreciation! 

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