Janice Sanae Higaki Nauman
January 7, 1946 to November 21, 2003.

These are the rules:

(1) You may not use the term "passed away".

(2) You may use such terms as: "kicked the bucket", "bought the farm", "pegged out", or "croaked". If necessary, you may use the term "died".

(3) You may not utter such platitudes as: "there's a reason for everything", "it's what God wanted", or "she's more comfortable now".

(4) You may use platitudes like: "there's more than one fish in the sea", "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush", or "it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game".

(5) You may not tell maudlin stories about how perfect Mom was, or how she changed your life.

(6) You may tell stories that start: "One time when she was at a party..." or "This one time she yelled at me because...".

(7) If you must cry about losing Janice, then you must also remember that she lives on in all of us.

So, following these rules, I'm writing because Mom pegged out last night. It's shitty and unfair, but the end was not unexpected. I got to spend a pretty good year with her, one that I wouldn't have had in another situation. We got to share plenty of stories and memories with her and everyone who kept in touch, and we got to make some new ones as well.

There was one afternoon when I was in the hospital, reading. The sun was going down and I thought Mom was sleeping. The light was growing dimmer and I suddenly heard Mom say, with her eyes still closed, "Turn on the light, you're straining your eyes." In the end, she'll always be with us. And even for those of you who never met her, she'll be with you through me. What more can I ask for, really?