“Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904)”
At the end of his tragically short life (1850-1904), Lafcadio Hearn, “Japan’s Greatest Interpreter,” wrote this in his Reverie.* Especially poignant as he had been separated from his mother since he was two:
“It has been said that men fear death much as the child cries at entering the world, being unable to know what loving hands are waiting to receive it … [A]s a happy fancy it is beautiful … It is beautiful, I think, because it suggests, in so intimate a way, the hope that to larger knowledge the Absolute will reveal itself as the mother – love made infinite … Some all-transfiguring hope created by the memory of Woman as Mother, and the more that races evolve towards higher things, the more Feminine becomes their idea of a God.”
He concludes, “The light of the mother’s smile will survive our sun; the thrill of her kiss will last beyond the thrilling of stars; the sweetness of her lullaby will endure in the cradle-songs of worlds yet unevolved. The tenderness of her faith will quicken the fervour of prayers to be made to the hosts of another heaven, to the gods of a time beyond Time. And the nectar of her breasts can never fail: that snowy stream will still flow on, to nourish the life of some humanity more perfect than our own, when the Milky Way that spans our night shall have vanished forever out of Space.”
And so he died as he had lived: his mother as the Mother of Love. His mother’s hands, her smile made infinite.
* (Sandgate, Kent: Japan Library Ltd., 1992), p. 256.