When my beloved Brutie Boy died on September 29, 2017, my heart was broken and I did not know if I wanted to continue living.

The loss of a loved one envelops the survivor in a spiral of emotions: sadness, despair, abandonment, anger, fear, self-doubt, hopelessness, anxiety, depression, grief.

It takes months for the broken body, mind, emotions and spirit to navigate through the Darkness and finally emerge into the Light.

Through the nine months of grieving, my spirit grew in strength and my dream of returning to Japan grew in intensity.

I had first visited Japan and Kyoto in 1992 with my daughter and fell in love with the country, the people, the architecture, the culture. I dreamed of returning some day.

After Brutie’s loss it became imperative that I make the journey alone – as a sign of entering a new stage of my life. You could call it a “Spiritual Rite of Passage.”

I began planning my return to Kyoto in the fifth month of my grieving process and was still plagued by fatigue, fear, and self-doubt.

“Could I make this trip alone, a woman, at my age?”

“Would I be able to navigate changing trains, crowded train stations, while pushing two suitcases and not being able to read Japanese?”

Some days I was confident, other days I was assaulted by fears that nearly paralyzed me.

Despite my fears of traveling alone, using the transit system without being able to read Japanese, handling the money, the reservations, knowing only rudimentary Japanese, I put my fears aside and returned to my beloved Kyoto.

My Brutie Boy made the trip with me and was my constant companion and protector. I carried his photo, the silver locket with a lock of his hair, and his beaded collar incorporated in the shoulder strap of my purse.

I must also give credit to the power of my spirit and the help I received from The Spirit – which kept pushing me to follow my dream and provided people to help me in Japan.

When I landed in Tokyo and during my journey to Kyoto and back, I was assisted by four “’Angels” – I would call them:

Angel One – a young Japanese man at the train ticket counter at Haneda International Airport who arranged my round trip tickets on the Shinkansen (Bullet train), purchased my connecting train ticket, then personally escorted me to my train, even loading my luggage – as tears of fear rolled down my cheeks and we waved Goodbye.

Angel Two – a young Japanese woman at the Shinagawa Station who escorted me and my luggage down the escalator to the Bullet train.

Angel Three – another young Japanese woman who helped me and my luggage down the escalator in Kyoto.

Angel Four – a Japanese man on my return trip to Tokyo who escorted me and my luggage into elevators and through the busy terminal, bought my connecting train ticket, and loaded me and my luggage onto the train.

Each of these four Japanese “angels” seemed Heaven-sent. They took time out of their busy schedules and made it their mission to help me feel safe and secure.

I am thankful for their help and the power of God that overcame my fears and fulfilled my dreams.

Today I would like to share memories of our 8 day trip of enchantment.