Still sad about my friend Krystal Watanabe who just died. After her son Hitoshi died of SIDS, she wrote about seeing beautiful snow on birch trees and being sad he could never see it. I thought the same thing about her yesterday when I looked at a double rainbow that stretched across the sky. She never even made it to 40. I can look at books on my shelf that I bought longer back than she was alive. Even this blog has entries dated older than her. When she was on the bus to Minnesota a few days ago I played her the theme to the Mary Tyler Moore Show that has Moore moving to Minneapolis and ends with the line "You're going to make it after all". She knew a ton of TV trivia and told me that the original version used in the first season went "You might just make it after all." The less hopeful version was true for her. She died alone in a motel room after the promise of a place had fallen though, with everything she had in a carryon suitcase that I'd bought her for the move. My poor girl. I'm glad I told you I loved you the last time we spoke.
She said she wanted to be remembered, and she "hated the obituary for my mother. It told you nothing about who she really was." Krystal had given me tons of information about herself, even old newspaper clippings, legal documents and medical reports that I never asked her for and that I otherwise couldn't have found, and I think she recruited me to write her story like she did the writers on her horror site twenty-two years earlier. She showed me everything about herself - one day it would be photos of her baby, the next her screaming at her husband about how she had to climb the stairs in great pain when she was pregnant that he was walking away from her on, and videos of her cheating on her husband and doing BDSM. Even Google Streetview images of her high school and her old home on "Foxhollow Way" in Roseville, the sort of name that invokes 'Merrie Olde Englande' that property developers in California liked.
She didn't think she would live that long - she smoked a lot, she'd already had a heart attack when she gave birth, her liver function was seriously impaired by the painkillers and both her parents were already dead. Her father had his first heart attack at 39, and she said she used to go into his room every morning expecting him to be gone. She also had migraines, was deaf in one ear, and couldn't walk very far due to her chronic pain. She showed me her resting heartrate on her Apple watch just before she died. It was 100!
I had written some obituary/news pieces for the Toronto Star, but this is something I hoped I wouldn't have to write.
There was a strange sort of innocence between us. We liked each other somehow, even though we were so different.
I friended her because she was bright and had a Japanese name, as I'd been learning Japanese. I thought she was Japanese-American for a long time and I thought the avatar she used of an elegant woman with long reddish-brown hair was something she'd just found on the web:
A quarter of a century later she still did, and stood out in a thunderstorm in Arizona: https://www.facebook.com/Krystal.Watanabe/videos/214731753865065
She took this photo from this blog and used it as a model for her own painting and sent it to me. I realize the photo would have been taken when she was 10!
"Always look on the bright side of life" by Monty Python played at her funeral.