When Cherry Blossoms Bloom (Author Interview)


When Cherry Blossoms Bloom looks like a great guide.  Can you tell us a little about it?

Thanks. I wrote this book for people dealing with a life-limiting or terminal illness. There are many books written for survivors of loss but not many for the person actually living through the illness.

Oftentimes, we focus on the diagnosis and forget about the person suffering from the illness. We don’t realize that they are grieving too. They too experience the grief stages during the course of the illness. Shock and denial at the diagnosis. There is a feeling of fear and anger at what the illness could potentially do to them. They grieve every time they lose a body function or ability. They have bouts of depression and even thoughts of suicide depending on the disease until they get to the point of acceptance… hopefully. Once that happens, they decide to make the most of their lives regardless of the outcome.

Also, I wanted them to know it’s ok to speak up and get the support they need. They don’t have to focus solely on their families. Because this can add stress to their lives and negatively impact their health. I also have a section called “Notes to Family." This was written to encourage family and friends to focus more on their loved ones while they are still with them.

How long did it take you to write When Cherry Blossoms Bloom?

I started writing this book in 2016. I had to really think about what I wanted to share and how to share it.

What inspired you when writing When Cherry Blossoms Bloom?

I’ve always worked with people through volunteering in a hospital, hospice, or working in pastoral care. It was rewarding to volunteer but also heartbreaking when I saw someone's fear and sadness. Hospice was an experience that showed me just how vulnerable people are when dealing with an illness. This was because of the lack of support and understanding families had in caring for them. It wasn’t that some families didn’t care, they were either consumed by their grief or absent altogether.

However, through my own experience with my father’s cancer, and seeing how he was more concerned about my sister and me than himself, I knew that shouldn’t be the case. So, I checked my feelings when talking to him. My moments of sadness could wait until I was by myself and I had friends I could lean on. His illness taught me so much and I’m thankful that he is still with us.

Also, from my own experience in dealing with my health challenges. No terminal illness, but I did experience some changes and changes that permanently altered my life. This is what gave me another level of understanding. It was easy for me to act like everything was ok even when it wasn’t. In my view, it is a coping mechanism that adds more stress and pressure while taking away support that is much needed.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

In Japan, cherry blossoms represent spring and renewal but they also are symbolic of the shortness of life and mortality. The cherry blossom season is very short. Two weeks from first bloom to falling off the tree. The flowers are in bloom for just 3 or 4 days before the petals begin to fall. It amazes me how all of Japan comes out to appreciate this tree and to celebrate its beauty, no matter how brief. I realized this was a fitting title for my book, as well as an example of life in general.

What will readers get out of your book?

It is important for a person with an illness to understand that it is okay to get the support they need without feeling selfish. Those around them will also benefit from communication, as it will enable them to be supported more effectively. To give family members and friends a better understanding of the emotions and grief their loved one may experience and treasure the time they have together.


Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing When Cherry Blossoms Bloom?

Yes, the skits. I wanted to give readers not only a visual picture but also one that engaged their emotions. Also, I wanted it to be an easy read for those who may not have the stamina to read for long periods of time. This is why the chapters are short. They were written with the person dealing with an illness in mind.


What do you like to do when not writing?

I enjoy creating crafts and drawing.


Where can readers find out more about your work?

They can go to my website.