Tag Archives: Japan

Synopsis: Between Thoughts of You

Tuscanywindow

Between Thoughts of You by Laura K Roe

To be published December 15, 2020 by Archway Simon & Schuster

When two unlikely souls—one fighting to stay alive, the other without a reason to live—miraculously collide, a powerful journey confronting grief and regret begins. 

Hospice nurse Lulua’ina, aka Lulu, has never had a patient quite like the old man. Pops, a 90-year-old Italian-American millionaire and founder of Fig Olive Oil, is near death in his Tuscan villa. He harbors a sixty-year-old secret. Lulu, being half Japanese-Hawaiian and half German, looks stunningly similar to the woman Pops cannot forget: Kiyomi, the daughter of a Japanese general he met and loved after World War II.

During three months together, lucid memories and dreams return to Pops. The old man can see, hear, smell, remember Kiyomi vividly again—and the broken promises he made to her. Regret overwhelms him. The old man’s dying wish to ask Kiyomi for her forgiveness, creates a wellspring of compassion within Lulu, who is heartbroken from betrayal and the loss of her infant daughter.

Lulu befriends Pauli, Pops’s third son the antithesis of her estranged stoic husband. Playful Pauli makes Lulu laugh. Pauli sees Lulu in ways no one else has. He admires her strength and capable care of his father. He respects her innocence and courage. Days after Pauli realizes he loves Lulu, his father dies and Lulu returns to Oahu.

Still compelled by the old man’s unanswered longing, Lulu  goes to New York. She has found Kiyomi’s, and Pauli’s, family—as Kiyomi had been pregnant when Pops left her. Lulu can’t wait to tell Pauli about his father’s secret love, and his family in Tokyo. The odd friends reunite in Manhattan and spend a remarkable twenty four hours together. Lulu finds herself at a crossroads in her journey. Can she find the courage to love again? Or will she, like the old man, push aside true love to pursue a safer path instead? 

Author’s Bio: Laura K Roe is the pen name for Laura Roe Stevens, a freelance writer and editor who has contributed to: The New York Times, Inc., Forbes, Fit Pregnancy, Parenting, Parents, Variety, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal & Constitution Sunday opinions page and others. Posts from Laura’s blog, NavigatingVita.com, has led to appearances and interviews with the Dr. Drew’s Life Changer’s show, The Queen Latifah show, CNNfn, Huff Post, on topics ranging from business, to careers, to parenting to dating. Laura has ghost written Forbes opinion pieces and book chapters for CEOs. She has also edited nonfiction, advice, and healthcare books for publishers and authors. A southerner with wanderlust, Laura has lived in New York and London, but now resides by the Pacific Ocean in southern California, where she raises two sons and one ferocious kitten. When not writing, she teaches weekly yoga classes and hosts yearly yoga and writers retreats around the globe. Next 2021 retreat: Maui with heathernamaste.com. 🙂

For more information: www.laurakroe.com 

(To sign up to pre-order a book, and to be entered to win a spot in Laura’s September 2021 Maui Yoga & Writer’s Retreat, go to: LauraKRoe.com. More details soon!)

Beauty, Forgiveness in Letting Go, Finally

lantern

I published this post originally in September 2011—a year and a half ago. I learned today, however, that my divorce is final. While I’ve been raising two boys solo for nearly four years now, I’m surprised by how emotional, yet surreal, this final parting, delivered unceremoniously via a curt email, feels. There are just no words to accurately describe it—even for someone like me. So with that said, I’m re-posting this post “Beauty, Forgiveness in Letting Go.” I let go of my imagery paper lantern tonight, to sail across the ocean to my ex, my former best friend, the father of our beautiful boys, with just two words inside: “Thank You.”

***

I can’t stop thinking about The New York Times article “Untying the Knot in Japan” by Paige Ferrari. In fact, ever since reading the article that outlines this new Japanese trend of divorce ceremonies, I can’t stop the steady stream of images from daydreams, clearly inspired by this idea. Obviously, I crave closure. One snippet of my dream keeps popping into my mind—like disjointed, still frame, romantic images. I even sent a message to my soon-to-be Ex about wanting to have a divorce ceremony. Not surprisingly, he didn’t reply.

Perhaps I’ll just have one on my own. Before reading this article, I had thought (once the divorce was final) I’d invite a friend or two to come with me as I throw my wedding band off the end of one of the Southern California piers into the Pacific Ocean. I imagined I’d say a few things before the toss about mixed blessings; becoming stronger; putting my sons first; or living a better life. But now I see what I really want is a ceremony that would honor the 12 years my husband and I spent together. I’d love a ceremony that is like a symbolic blessing to us both—releasing us to move on and inspiring us to be respectful of one another for the sake of our boys.

In Ferrari’s article, a divorce ceremony is outlined where both the ex-husband and ex-wife come together, say a few words in front of a witness, and then both use a hammer to crush their wedding bands. It’s a somber occasion, but one that respects their former union, blesses the two to move on, and confirms the importance of their child’s health and happiness. More ex-couples would benefit from a ceremony such as this, don’t you think? Since I’ll likely never have one with my Ex who lives in London, I will dream of one that allows me to let go and continue on with beauty and hope.

In my recurring dream, a paper lantern floats wobbly in a river—the candle light inside flickering in and out through a heavy layer of fog. It moves with fragility in the water and I am compelled to reach out to it. I have been waiting for it alone on a dock and I stretch to reach it, but can not. I am frightened that the light will burn out, so I stretch my body along the scratchy wood planks of the dock, my upper torso dangling precariously over the water. Finally one long finger touches the side of the lantern and I pull it towards me. I lift it up and put my wedding ring inside. I let myself think for a moment about the beauty of our wedding, the sweetness of our love that day, and the hope we both once had. Inside the other crease of the lantern, I place two folded pieces of paper with messages to my soon-to-be ex-husband.

“Don’t forget your boys,” is written on one note.

“I forgive you,” on the other.

I visualize all the hurt and pain that I have felt over the past two years as a smoke rising from a flame. The wind lifts it up in the crisp night air and allows it to combine with the fog. I place the paper lantern with my ring and messages back into the river and push it gently into the current.

As I watch it drift away, I let go of all anger and bitterness.

I close my eyes, envision my beautiful boys, and allow myself to feel blessed in this parting.

Beauty, Forgiveness in Letting Go

I can’t stop thinking about The New York Times article “Untying the Knot in Japan” by Paige Ferrari. In fact, ever since reading the article that outlines this new Japanese trend of divorce ceremonies, I can’t stop the steady stream of images from daydreams, clearly inspired by this idea. Obviously, I crave closure. One snippet of my dream keeps popping into my mind—like disjointed, still frame, romantic images. I even sent a message to my soon-to-be Ex about wanting to have a divorce ceremony. Not surprisingly, he didn’t reply.

Perhaps I’ll just have one on my own. Before reading this article, I had thought (once the divorce was final) I’d invite a friend or two to come with me as I throw my wedding band off the end of one of the Southern California piers into the Pacific Ocean. I imagined I’d say a few things before the toss about mixed blessings; becoming stronger; putting my sons first; or living a better life. But now I see what I really want is a ceremony that would honor the 12 years my husband and I spent together. I’d love a ceremony that is like a symbolic blessing to us both—releasing us to move on and inspiring us to be respectful of one another for the sake of our boys.

In Ferrari’s article, a divorce ceremony is outlined where both the ex-husband and ex-wife come together, say a few words in front of a witness, and then both use a hammer to crush their wedding bands. It’s a somber occasion, but one that respects their former union, blesses the two to move on, and confirms the importance of their child’s health and happiness. More ex-couples would benefit from a ceremony such as this, don’t you think? Since I’ll likely never have one with my Ex who lives in London, I will dream of one that allows me to let go and continue on with beauty and hope.

In my recurring dream, a paper lantern floats wobbly in a river—the candle light inside flickering in and out through a heavy layer of fog. It moves with fragility in the water and I am compelled to reach out to it. I have been waiting for it alone on a dock and I stretch to reach it, but can not. I am frightened that the light will burn out, so I stretch my body along the scratchy wood planks of the dock, my upper torso dangling precariously over the water. Finally one long finger touches the side of the lantern and I pull it towards me. I lift it up and put my wedding ring inside. I let myself think for a moment about the beauty of our wedding, the sweetness of our love that day, and the hope we both once had. Inside the other crease of the lantern, I place two folded pieces of paper with messages to my soon-to-be ex-husband.

“Don’t forget your boys,” is written on one note.

“I forgive you,” on the other.

I visualize all the hurt and pain that I have felt over the past two years as a smoke rising from a flame. The wind lifts it up in the crisp night air and allows it to combine with the fog. I place the paper lantern with my ring and messages back into the river and push it gently into the current.

As I watch it drift away, I let go of all anger and bitterness.

I close my eyes, envision my beautiful boys, and allow myself to feel blessed in this parting.