“Its a nice day today,” thought Kyo. “A nice day for a funeral.” He was sitting outside the steps of the church as he looked at the sky wistfully. At that moment, another man stepped outside of the church and tapped his shoulder.
“We’re ready for you,Kyo.” said the man. As Kyo turned around, he saw that it was Momiji, a little aged from all the time that had obviously passed, but he still retained that boyish and handsome look he had while he was in high school.
“Thank you Momiji.” said Kyo as he lifted himself off the steps and walked inside the church. As he made his way to the podium, he saw a lot of faces. He also saw everyone that was involved in the most important period of his life. He started to look back on those days and remembered the her crazy friends and his crazy family’s moments of back then. As he remembered, the memories started bringing tears to his eyes. But just as expected, Kyo held them back. He promised himself that he wouldn’t cry.
“She wouldn’t want me to be sad, so hold it together.” he thought.
As he reached the podium, Kyo fixed the microphone as everyone got seated. When he looked up, he saw that the church was filled to the brim.
“Of course it would be,” Kyo thought. “She touched the hearts of many people in her life while she could.”
Kyo cleared his throat and looked at the crowd as he started speaking.
“Thank you all for being here.” he said. “I’m sure that she would be surprised at how many people showed up here.” The crowd chuckled a little as they thought of how she would react. “But she shouldn’t be, because as we all know that the main reason that wa are all here is because she touched each of our hearts with her compassion, kindness, and wiseful words and actions that made each of us love her dearly. But this isn’t all about us, this is about her. You guys know how she was like, so I can’t just make this eulogy all about how she was like or I can’t talk about how she saw the world because that is something only she knows. So, I’ll talk about something I do know and the thing I know best is the way I saw her. I felt like this was the best way to talk about her as I was the closest person to her. Now, I’m not gonna tell you about our entire love story or how our live went. I am gonna tell you about the 9 times I fell in love in my life.”
Kyo paused and looked at the casket with remorse as he looked back at the memories that he shared with the person that was now entombed in the casket. The tears started rolling down his cheeks as he started to curse himself for breaking his promise of not crying. He looked back at the crowd and spoke with a dry and choked voice.
“You know, I always thought that she would be the one to outlive,” he said, trying to hold back the tears.”I always thought that she would be the one to do this for me. But, like always, life doesn’t go always go the way you expect it to go.”
He paused once again to clear his throat, rub his old wrinkled eyes, and run his hands through his slightly grayed, but still bright as ever, orange hair.
“Anyway, let me tell you all about the 9 times I fell in love with her. The 1st time I fell in love with her was, at that moment, probably one of the worst and best moments of my life. Some of you guys were there on that day,” he said referring to Yuki, Kagura, Shigure, and his late foster father Shissou.
“At first, it seemed like my whole world was collapsing on top of me. On that day, in the night, my father had just forced me to show my worst side to her. I started to run away from her and left her behind. I couldn’t bear it. She had just saw the worst side of me. I felt that at that moment, my budding relationship with her had come to an end. There was no way we could continue being friends. She’s probably disgusted by me and hates me. I ran and I ran. I ended up running all the way to the lake, which was about a mile away from the house. I sat there and sulked. All of the sudden, she showed up behind me, panting from exhaustion. She kept trying to grab me and calm me down, but I kept pushing her away violently and screaming at her. She then finally latched onto my arm and told me the full truth. She told me the truth that not even my own mother would tell me. She told me she was honestly afraid of me on that day. But despite all that, she said that didn’t matter, that she still wanted to live together. When I heard those words, I was able to finally calm down and I hugged her dearly. She walked me back to the house and we became a little closer because of that. I’ll admit, at first, I didn’t truly realize that I loved her at that moment. But that is what led to the 2nd time I fell in love with her. I was being confronted by the head of the family.” he said referring to Akito.
“She was threatening me by threatening to hurt her. When I told Akito not to, they questioned me, ’Why? Why shouldn’t I hurt her?’ It was at that moment that I realized it. That it was because I loved her. The 3rd time I fell in love was sort of a living hell for me.” he said with a slightly joking voice.
“It started when we were outside of the house and I had just told her that it was my fault that her mother passed away. I don’t need to go into much detail about that since many of you know the story. But anyway, despite all that, she said that she still loved me. Like the idiot I was at the time, I told her I was disillusioned and ran away. She tried to chase after me, but ended getting caught up in other things which ended with her falling off a cliff and going to the hospital. I felt so guilty and I felt like I could barely live with myself. It was even harder going to school because anytime I tried to leave to go see her, her crazy friends would always block my way and say no and threaten to mutilate me.” he said with a grand waving gesture of his hand as the crowd laughed as they knew he was talking about Hana and Uotani san.
“The day I was finally able to go see her was the day she was getting out of the hospital. I was so nervous as I walked, but when I finally saw her, my nerves calmed down. But at that same moment, she ran away from me. I ran after her and when I finally caught up to her, I finally told her my true feeling. That I loved her and I wanted to be together with her and live a life with her. She then asked me if it was okay to still keep loving me and if she could still stay with me. I responded with a yes and a kiss. After that we hugged, and while we hugged, I expected to turn like always, but I didn’t. We both noticed it as we let go of each other, and as we let go, I felt this strange feeling of freedom arise within me. I looked at the bracelet that was on my arm, the same one that was holding back my worst side. I grabbed at it and tore it off my wrist. As she watched me tear it off, she started crying and I started crying as we both realized that I was free from the curse that was holding me back all my life. We hugged each other again and when we let go, she picked up the beads of the bracelet. She picked them up for me like she was protecting the me of the present and the me of the future. Or maybe she was trying to pick up the far off feelings of all those people who lived with those beads on, every single last one of them. I didn’t really know it at the time and I don’t have much of an idea now. But I did know one thing that I still believe in to this day. That ‘loving’ someone isn’t always just loving what’s right in front of you. There is also the past and the future. Loving someone means embracing it all, the good and the bad. Now that phrase is gonna come back later, but for now that was the 3rd time I fell in love. The 4th time I fell in love was later that month.” he said as the crowd burst into giggles.
“I know that was sort of too fast to fall in love with her again, but its just that moment meant so much to me. We were visiting her mother’s grave when I told about my plans of leaving in order to train and learn new experiences before I took over Shissou’s dojo. I told her that I wanted to do all of that together with her. She responded right away with a yes. I told her to think it through as we were gonna be living on our own and we might be poor, but she said that she was pretty stubborn when she makes a decision. Then she told me she still had one single thing left to tell me. She told me that she was sure her mom never hated me. She said even if her mom said she wouldn’t forgive me, she was sure her mom didn’t say it out of hate. She also said that she knew that leaving everyone would be very sad, but that being apart from me would break her heart even worse. She said that she always wanted to be my side and that she didn’t want to wait for me. I told her thank you and I said that I would take her with me. As we turned from the grave, I looked back at it and said that I’ll keep my promise. It took me a really long time, but now I’ll keep it my whole life. That moment felt like I finally got the weight off my chest, I would finally keep the promise I made all those years back.” He paused for a moment to take a gulp of his water.
“The next 2 times I fell in love were sort of a blur, but I still remember why I fell in love. The 5th time I fell in love was probably the happiest day of my life. That was the day I got married. Sure, that day was a little hard in the beginning because practically everyone of her friends and everyone in my family was coming up to me and threatening that if I ever hurt her, they would do things to me that I couldn’t even imagine. I was already scared of screwing up the ceremony, but now I was even more scared because I knew what they were capable of doing, especially Hana and Uotani. Man, those girls are scary if you really know them.” exasperated Kyo with an exaggerated shaking of his head while the crowd laughed as Hana and Uotani eyed Kyo down at the podium.
“Hey don’t look at me like that, don’t you remember you once threatened to mutilate me with a spear? Anyway let's get back to the story. So after being threatened, I’m standing there, waiting for the music to start so she could walk down the aisle. All of the sudden, the music starts swelling up and everyone starts standing up. I look down the aisle and I see her walking down. I don’t remember the exact details of the dress, but I do know that she looked stunningly gorgeous. As soon as I saw her, all the nerves that I had just melted away. When she finally reached me, she turned around and looked at me with the sweetest smile. We said our vows and we kissed, and after that she whispered to me that this was one of the happiest days of her life. I fell in love right then and there. With just that, it made me feel like the luckiest man alive on Earth. The 6th time I fell in love was when she became pregnant and gave birth to my son, Hajime. Now she wasn’t like other pregnant women during pregnancy. In fact, when she became pregnant, she became even more kind and compassionate than she ever was before. I didn’t even know that was possible for her. When Hajime was being born, I was nervous as hell. I was so worried. Was she okay, was Hajime okay, or what if something bad had happened? All the sudden, the doctor stepped out and told me to come in, I basically sprinted into the room. When I saw her, she was just sitting there cradling Hajime in her arms, with an exhausted look on her face, but she still looked radiant as ever. As soon as I sat down, she put the baby in my arms and she laid down to rest for a while. When I looked into his eyes, I fell hard. The fact that she held this in her stomach for 9 months, this beautiful child, it just blew my mind.” Kyo stopped for a moment and a melancholy look appeared on his face.
“The 7th time I fell in love was when she was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. She was being even more forgetful than usual, and I got really concerned when she started forgetting my name, so I took her to the hospital. The doctor said that just because it was in the beginning stages and it was only mild so far, he said that it would start to progress faster and will become worse. I asked him how much time she had left and he said that at max, she had 1 year and a half. As we walked out of the hospital, the tears started rolling down my cheeks. She pulled out her handkerchief and wiped away my tears. She told me that it was alright and that everything was going to be okay. That this just meant that we had to appreciate each day that we spend together even more. That just broke my heart and somehow reassured it at the same time. That's why I fell in love the 7th time. The 8th time I fell was like a brief moment, like it wouldn’t matter to most people, but it definitely mattered to me. She was starting to forget a lot of things and names. She supposedly only had 6 months left. I was driving her to the hospital for another one of those checkups when I just started sobbing. I quickly regained my posture and calmed myself down. She put her hand over mine and looked at me dearly with sincerity and concern. At this point, I was just another person living in her house that took care of her and I was no longer her husband. Even though she had forgotten many things and people at this point in time, the disease didn’t change her personality and her mannerisms. When she put her hand on mine, I grabbed it tightly and kissed it.” Kyo said as he stopped abruptly as a few tears started falling down his cheeks and his voice started becoming a bit shaky as he continued speaking.
“The last time I fell in love was 2 weeks ago. That was the day she passed away. Everyone had come to see her one last time. One last time before one of the last souls of kindness had passed on. Everyone whose lives she had changed for the better had came. She was already on life support because she was so close to forgetting how to breathe. Everyone was crying and saying their final goodbyes. As we were all sitting around her, she awoke from her nap and saw the rest of us crying. She began to speak.
’Everyone, its okay. You don’t have to cry. I don’t want you to be sad. I lived a good life, but the thing that made it the best was all of you. All of you made me feel loved and made my life better. Thank you all for being my friends. I’ll always love the days we spent together and I’ll always love all of you. You guys will always be so dear to me. You’re like jewels to me, precious and dear. I’ll miss you all.’ She then stopped and looked at me and gripped my hand tightly and I gripped it back. She said, ‘Kyo, thank you. Thank you for being there for me and for letting me love you and for loving me back. Thank you for holding my hand, repeating the good and the bad, doing it all, and piling on the years with me throughout this life. I’ll always love you Kyo.’
Kyo paused for a moment to regain his posture once more before continuing.“She then closed her eyes, she exhaled one last time and her chest fell flat. The tight grip she had on my hand had loosened and her arm went slack.” Kyo stopped as tears just started gushing down his face as he remembered how he tightened his grip on her hand after she passed and how he started rocking back and forth saying,’Come back to me. Please don’t leave. I love you too much and I don’t want to let you go.’
Kyo took another gulp of his water, once again regained his posture, and continued speaking.”And with that, that concludes the story of how I fell in love with my wife those 9 times. Right now, I’m wondering how I’m going to live by myself now that she’s gone. She was the light and the love of my life and I don’t think you’d find someone like her everyday. She was like a rare gem in my life and I will continue treasuring her like that even though she’s gone.” Kyo once again stopped abruptly as he was only moments away from completely breaking down. Suddenly, Yuki had stood up from his seat and walked his way to the podium. He tapped Kyo lightly on his shoulder to show that he would take it over from here. Kyo nodded and took a seat behind the podium. Yuki fixed the microphone and started speaking.
“The point that Kyo is trying to get across is that she was a light of hope in this family and she will be dearly missed. Because of her kindness, compassion, and insightful wisdom, some of us are the people we are today. In fact, I’m going to tell you about a conversation I had with her a long time ago. We all had just graduated from high school and she and Kyo were cleaning up the house since we were all moving out. I asked him if I could talk to her alone and he said yes, so I went to find her. When I found her, she greeted me with the same greeting she would always use. I started talking to her about how much she had positively affected all of the
Sohma’s family lives. The reason I did this is because I had to get out what I wanted to say about the effect she had specifically on my life.
I said,’I’m happy about all of this. Honestly. I’m happy that I made it to this point. I know. I was always so weak. I couldn’t deal with people well, but I still wanted to be loved. I wanted to be needed. All I did was want. But during that period of my life, you appeared. And then there you were. You granted my wish. Free of charge. You taught me so much. You gave me what I needed. That’s why I can stand here now, the man I am today. It was you. You made me human. You raised me, as a person. To me, you were practically my mother. At any rate, you were like that to everyone else too. From what I could see. Your existence is so warm. You’re such a gentle presence. This is the time. We’re all going to new environments, so we can live our own lives. And suddenly, we’re all thinking of you. Are you doing well? You’re not crying, are you? Are you still smiling? Are you truly happy on this day? We’re all thinking it. All of us. And we’ll keep thinking it. Everybody loves you. Thank you. I’m so glad I met you. And I’m so glad that you were here for us. Thank you.’”
Yuki stopped as he felt his throat getting dry as he remember the memories he had with her.
“And that is how I’ll continue feeling about her, forever. Because of her, Ritsu was able to overcome some of his shyness and timidness in order to at least attempt to connect with people. Kagura was able to admit her true feelings to Kyo. Hiro learned to become softer and to read people’s emotions. Kisa was able to overcome her mutism and learned how to handle other people’s opinions. Haru was able to control his black rage a little bit more. Momiji was able to mature and use his past as wisdom for the future. Rin was able to let go some of her pent up sadness and learned to become more open. Kazuma was able to be at peace because he had finally found someone who accepted his son truly. Hanajima learned to control her powers and overcome her fear of bonding with people. Kureno finally learned to stop putting others before himself and go after what he wanted. Uotani decided to get her life together because of the kindness shown to her by her and her mother. Ayame, my own brother, overcame his narcissism and learned how to interact with me and how to become closer to me because of her. Hatori became more open about his feelings and thoughts. Shigure was able to finally break the curse that plagued our family because of her. Akito finally let go of her grip as the God of the Zodiac, that kept our family under a cloud of oppression and fear, and became the true head of the family. Kyo was finally able to get the weight off his shoulders and face his fears in order to become stronger and wiser. She did all these things for us and we will forever that. We will treasure her forever in our hearts because of the pure love she gave us and everyone else. We will always love you and we’ll miss you dearly.” Yuki turned around to Kyo who was already standing up from his seat. Yuki went back to his seat and sat down by Machi.
Kyo began speaking.” Thank you Yuki for that beautiful emphasis. Like he said, we will always love you, especially me. You will always be the love of my life,Tohru Honda.” Kyo stepped down from the podium, but before he even stepped into the aisle, everyone stood up from their seats and gave a tremendous applause. Kyo just stood there still, in awe of how many people clapped for him and Yuki and their speech. But in all, the applause was for Tohru’s legacy. At the thought of that, Kyo smiled and took his seat in the crowd. After all the eulogies, they went out to the cemetery to bury her. They put her gravestone next to her father, mother, and grandfather. After the funeral was all over, Kyo was standing in front of the gravestone. Yuki walked over to him and patted him on the back and asked,”Are you going to be okay?”
Kyo responded with a smile,”Yeah,I will be. I know she’s even watching over me right now, being my guardian angel.”
They turned away from the grave and walked to the car, unaware of the presence of a certain brown haired angel smiling as she was watching over their backs.