MICHIKO TAKEHISA On August 23, 2016, five days after suffering a massive stroke, our beloved Michiko slipped quietly from our arms. Her parents, Minoru and Yoshiko and brother, Koji, were at her bedside along with her husband, Bob Ward and many members of the Ward and Mitsusada-Boylan families. In the days before her death, Michiko’s hospital room saw a constant coming and going of the friends, colleagues, patients and study partners who had come to know and love her during her sixteen years of living and practicing Oriental medicine in Toronto. It was a beautiful outpouring of sorrow, love and appreciation for a special person. Michiko was born in Shiga Province, Japan on January 18, 1965. From an early age, she demonstrated an irrepressible wanderlust. While studying Italian in Siena in 1990, her life became entangled with that of a Canadian fellow-student named Bob. After Italy came Toronto, where Michiko first studied Japanese shiatsu massage. Curiously, it was in Canada that she discovered the discipline that would become her life passion and connect her in a profound way with her own culture. Michiko and Bob’s marriage was a long time coming, but in 1999 they finally tied the knot in a traditional Shinto ceremony. Getting married proved to be so much fun that they did it again in 2000, in Canada. Over the years, Michiko and Bob kept roaming: Greece, Scotland, Cuba, Argentina, Bali, the Camino de Santiago… the list goes on. Meanwhile, Michiko’s strong hands were winning her a devoted clientele. Michiko’s patients benefited both from her intense devotion to her art – she was a true student-for-life, forever acquiring new techniques and seeking out new senseis – as well as from her human touch. Michiko didn’t just treat her patients’ bodies, she treated their whole being. Michiko was curious, adventurous, principled, fearless. She asked for little and gave much. She never forgot old friends. She had a child’s love for hot springs, sunflowers, corn on the cob, stinky cheese and Abba. Behind her humility and softness, there lurked a wicked sense of humour. Michiko was fun – even if she fell asleep after one drink. Above all, she was devoted to her families: a dream daughter-in-law to Amaryllis Ward, a faithful child to Yoshiko and Minoru, a terrific sister, sister-in-law and aunt (sadly, baby Chisato will never know her beautiful obachan). A wife like no other. The families give thanks to the staff of the Toronto East General Hospital ICU; to CCLCS, which opened its doors for a gathering in Michiko’s memory; and to all who have shown their love for her in recent days – or ever.
A simple funeral was held at Toronto Japanese Buddhist Church on August 24th. Further observances may follow.
Donations can be made to the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
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