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2008年12月25日 (木)

がんを生きる:寄り添いびと/5止 結び直した父との絆

(Mainichi Japan) December 23, 2008

Living with cancer: a volunteer forges a bond with her father (Pt 6)

がんを生きる:寄り添いびと/5止 結び直した父との絆

 ◇いつか故郷で人の痛みに

At the Tokyo Suicide Prevention Center in Shinjuku-ku, a three-month volunteer training course comes to an end, and the 10 trainees now join the ranks of "befrienders," or volunteer telephone counselors.

 東京・新宿の自殺防止センターで、3カ月間にわたって開かれたボランティア研修が終わった。10人の研修生が、新たにビフレンダー(相談員)の仲間に加わった。

"This is just the beginning," warns the founder of the Center, Akira Nishihara, 79, who has been diagnosed with terminal intestinal cancer himself.

 「これからが本番ですよ」。17日夜。末期の大腸がんと宣告されつつセンターを引っ張ってきた西原明さん(79)が言葉をかけると、新人たちは居住まいを正した。

Naomi, 38, is among the 10 volunteers. Her father, 69, passed away in her hometown in Akita this March.

 その中に直美さん(38)の姿もあった。3月に故郷の秋田に住む父親(69)を亡くしている。

The news of her father's cancer came in the form of a phone call from her mother last September: "Your father has terminal stomach cancer and only has six months to live." The news was all the more painful for the strained relationship between the two.

 「お父さん、末期の胃がんであと半年だって」

 母親(63)から電話があったのは昨年9月。「私にはお父さんとの思い出がない……」。切ない知らせだった。

Since Naomi was young, her parents had been on bad terms, separating when she was in high school. She lived with her mother and younger sister, and became estranged from her father. After moving to Tokyo for work, she only saw him on her rare visits to Akita.

 物心ついたころから、両親は不仲で、高校生の時に別居した。直美さんは母や妹と暮らした。父とは疎遠になり、東京で働き始めてからは、帰省した時、たまに顔を見せる程度になった。

"We still have time," she thought, hoping to reforge the bond that she had lost with her father. She began a weekend schedule of catching the bullet train every Friday night, returning to Tokyo on the final train on Sunday evening.

 「まだ間に合う」。絆(きずな)を結び直そうと思った。毎週金曜の夜に東京駅から新幹線に飛び乗り、日曜の最終で帰る。そんな週末帰省を続けた。

Though at first, Naomi and her father both had some reservations, eventually, he began eagerly awaiting her visits. "When will you come next?" he would ask, and she would circle the dates on the calendar by his hospital bed. "Train fare adds up, doesn't it?" he would say, and give her some change. They would always part reluctantly with a high-five.

 最初は父娘の間に戸惑いもあったが、いつしか心待ちにしてくれるようになった。「今度は?」と父が尋ね、直美さんが病室のカレンダーの日付を丸で囲んだ。「電車代、大変だろ」と父は時々、小遣いを渡した。いつもハイタッチでつかの間の別れを惜しんだ。

He also told her stories from his childhood: how he loved to run, how he and his younger brother would peddle fish and vegetables stacked on a two-wheel cart that they hauled around. They savored the time they had together.

 少年時代の話もよくしてくれた。かけっこが大好きだったこと。魚や野菜をリヤカーに積んで弟と行商したこと。水入らずの時間だった。

While her father had never complained before, as his cancer progressed and the pain became unbearable, he screamed to her for help. She automatically held him in her arms, and was shocked to find that his body, once muscular from jogging, had wasted away.

 病状が進んだ時、泣き言を口にしなかった父が、あまりの激痛に「助けてくれ」と絶叫した。思わず抱きしめると、ジョギングで鍛えて筋骨隆々だったはずの父は、とても小さく、細かった。

"I'm sorry, I have to go," were Naomi's last words to her father, the day before he died. "Thank ... you ... take ... care ..." he whispered back.

 「ごめんね。一度帰る」。亡くなる前日の日曜日に父親にかけた最後の言葉。唇に耳を寄せたら「あ・り・が・とう。げ・ん・き・で・な」とかすかに聞こえた。

"I wonder if I'll be able to run again in heaven." Remembering the words her father uttered in his hospital bed, Naomi and her mother decided to place a pair of sneakers and running outfit in her father's casket.

 ひつぎには母と相談して運動靴とジャージーを入れた。「天国に行ったらまた走れるかな」。病床でつぶやいた父の言葉を思い出した。

In the fall, Naomi arrived at the Suicide Prevention Center.

 秋。直美さんはセンターにやってきた。

"Through my father's death, I realized I want to contribute in some way," she told the others of her motivation for becoming a counselor. Akita Prefecture, where she is from, has a high suicide rate. "Some day, I want to do a job in Akita that involves empathizing with people in pain."

 <父の死を通して、何か私にもできることがあればと考えました>

 志望動機にはそう記した。故郷の秋田は自殺多発県だ。「いつか故郷で、人の痛みに寄り添う仕事をしたい」と仲間たちに言った。

On the last day of the training course, Nishihara and his wife, Yukiko, 74, visited a hospice in Tokyo for an interview. He wants to have as many options as possible in his final moments.

 研修の最終日、明さんは妻由記子さん(74)と一緒に都内のホスピスに面接に行った。最期の時間の選択肢を増やしておきたいと思ったからだ。

"I want to continue my work at the center for as long as I can, but I may eventually have to trouble you for your help," he told a doctor there. "What is the dying process? I want to reflect upon myself as I confront my remaining days."

 「できるだけセンターの仕事を続け、いずれやっかいになるかもしれません」。明さんは医師に言った。そして「人が死にゆくプロセスはいかなるものか。私自身を見つめながら残りの時間を過ごしたい」と続けた。

It has been 30 years since the Suicide Prevention Center was established in Osaka. The seeds planted by Nishihara and his wife are being passed on to their colleagues, who will continue the work they have begun, helping lives flourish into the future.

 30年前に大阪で産声を上げた自殺防止センター。西原夫妻がまいた種は多くの仲間たちを得て、未来へと命をつなぐ。【萩尾信也】=おわり

毎日新聞 20081220日 東京朝刊

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