April 11th, 2006

Rep. Karamatsu Funeral Speech For His Grandmother Bessie Shimoyo Karamatsu

Jon Riki Karamatsu
Bessie S. Karamatsu Funeral Speech
Thursday, April 6, 2006
Jodo Mission Hawaii

Grandma, okage sama de – we are who we are because of you. We are grateful for everything you taught us. We know in the early years, you faced tough financial challenges with grandpa. You weathered through hard times and were able to raise five wonderful children. Even when grandpa's career was doing well and times were financially good, you taught us humbleness by the way you lived. You could have bought a bigger house but was satisfied in your cozy home in Kalihi and material things were of secondary importance to you.

The phrase, "Kodomo no tame ni" or "For the sake of the children," best describes what meant the most to you. You sacrificed so much for your children in hopes that they can have a good life and bring up the next generation as honorably as you have.

As your grandchildren and great grandchildren, we are so happy to have gotten the opportunity to share so many wonderful memories with you. As little kids, we enjoyed playing with flashlights around your house. We appreciated your cooking and especially New Year's Day when you would spend the whole day preparing dishes for your entire family. We also appreciated you taking us to dinners at so many great restaurants.

We learned so much from you such as culture, tradition, and honor. We enjoyed praying at Jodo Shu with you and will continue to pray to you, grandpa, and our ancestors. Dancing at bon dances with you will always be cherished. When you danced, you looked so happy and graceful. Although we don't know the Japanese language and traditions as well as you, we will do our best to carry on what we know and learn more.

On a personal note, I am glad I got to enjoy Japanese movies with you at the Hawaii International Film Festivals. I am also happy you could attend many of my personal and political functions. I will always cherish you sitting by me on the floor of the Hawaii State House of Representatives for almost every legislative opening day since I was elected in 2002. Likewise, your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren treasure the time you spent with them.

Grandma, we are stronger because of you. We will strive to achieve the goals and dreams we shared with you. We will also do our best to continue your legacy and tell the next generation about you and grandpa. In your farewell letters you told us to be happy. We will follow your wishes and live a full and happy life. Finally, we will continue to pray to you.

Grandma, you are forever in our hearts. Thank you so much. Jya mata au made ni. Until we meet again. We love you.