One day late in May, on 28 May to be exact, I had a sudden thought that I wanted to remain in New York perpetually. I had already asked a friend, serving as my executor, to scatter my ashes over the Hudson so that eventually I will reach my beloved Italy across the Atlantic Ocean. But my life in New York since my retirement in 2001 has been very happy and I just didn’t want to leave behind my home here. To stay in New York I must have a grave; so, I started searching for cemeteries, and the Green-Wood was my choice; I had visited it before and found the place very beautiful.
On 22 June, I rang the Green-Wood Cemetery and made an appointment for 5 July. On that day, I was shown around to see the available lots. I chose promptly one of the four sites and one specific plot there; and back in the office I made a payment and it was all done. Curiously, I was cheerful going to the cemetery and through the whole procedure, and I was even more elated coming home.
Only when I was back home, I realized that 5 July, the day I acquired my plot was the day when my love Tokiko and I got formally together. I had no idea of this remarkable coincidence when I chose that particular day to visit the cemetery and purchased the plot that very day.
Furthermore, I noticed a few days later that 5 July 2017 fell exactly on the 60th year anniversary of our union, the felicitous return-of-the-calendar in Asia, the cycle that combines the 12 zodiac signs and 5 elements. I was dumbfounded; I am in no doubt that Tokiko dwelled in my mind and guided me all the way. She passed away in 1995; and since I still have her ashes, we will be together once again after my passing.
As mysteriously, too, 38 days passed between my first thought of the perpetual abode in New York and the purchase of the plot, and, moreover, reviewing my journal, I discovered that 38 days later, on 12 August, I came up with the design for my headstone, featuring the Sanscrit character for kahn
, my zodiac sign, the rooster. As I explain elsewhere 38 is the magic number in my numerology.
My life with her lasted 38 years; and if I lived to 2033, I will have lived 38 years without her. I will then be 100.
On 31 August, I went to Supreme Memorials in Brooklyn and ordered my headstone, exactly 19 days after I devised the design for it, the date I now chose deliberately. I also stopped at Leone Funeral Home, recommended by Supreme Memorials, to arrange the interment of Tokiko’s ashes and my cremation. On the way home, I realized, again to my astonishment, that Leone matched her sign Leo, her birthday being 30 July, exact opposite of mine, 30 January.
On 2 July 2018, the anniversary of Tokiko's death, the 23rd, I interred her ashes, a part of which I had already scattered in the garden of our house that she and I lovingly tendered. With the ashes I also interred the original copy of the love letter I wrote her immediately after her passing in response to the note she had left me just before her death following the surgery on her cancer of the palate.