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Kaneko's story - Chapter 4 Living with a Trailblazing Husband - Continue

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My husband's work became even busier during this time, and we were often up until late at night. Communications from around the world would come in at all hours, without cease. There would be telephone calls, and we would send out messages of encouragement no matter what time of day.

My husband's health was not good. He would have night sweats, and yet he had to keep going day after day even under those difficult circumstances. I, too, was becoming exhausted and worn down. At one point, during the fall of 1975, I became sick with liver problems.

Thanks to the support and encouragement of all our friends, however, I fully recovered. I have a strong constitution and in those days, could go one or two nights without sleeping. Until then, I had never had a major illness. When my husband was suffering with a fever, I thought I knew what he was going through, but I really had no idea. I truely understood what it was to be in physical pain and distress only after I got sick myself. In that sense, I believe getting sick was actually a good experience for me.

To tell the truth, 1975 was a very difficult time for my husband. The entire Soka Gakkai organization was facing major ordeals, and so I prayed that I could take on my husband's illness in his place. Then, I really did become sick.

My husband was deeply concerned about this. He said: "You've been very foolish. You should know that if you get sick, you will cause conern for everyone." At the time, I thought that even if I got sick, I'd still be able to function.

My illness marked a major turning point in our family life. From that time onward, our children learned to take care of household tasks on their own, dividng responsibilities among themeselves. The entire family switched to a new operaitonal mode.

After that, I gradually took better care of myself. Whereas before, I never included my own welfare in my prayers, I prayed much more seriously for the good health and safety of the entire family, myself included, and all of the Soka Gakkai members.

An interesting thing happened during our first visit to China. In China, meetings always take place at a round table so that everyone can easily particpate in te diagloue. Each person at the table must contribute to the discussion. When I attended that kind of meeting with my husband, I had always refrained from speaking. But on one occassion, I was told that I could not get away with being silent. When I said, "I'm just tagging along as the maid," the entire room burst into laughter.

Despite this, I was urged to make a statement, so I shared my thoughts in a straightforward manner. I said: "In Japan, I had always been told that Communism is something to be feared. For that reason, I had come to perceive China as a scary country. After talking with all of you, however, I have come to see clearly that China is a warm country overflowing with love and humanity."

I am sure that my husband, seated next to me, was nervous about what I would say. But our Chinese hosts said, " You speak your mind honestly," and they seemed to open up and trust us.

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