Prayer @ Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg

The clock went backward during the last weekend and I still haven’t finished writing about my summer holiday! I am so ashamed.

Believe me because I am feeling rather desperate and also disappointed by my slackness. Ohhh, I must find time and energy to resume chronicling the road trip! However, the longer I lay it off, the harder it becomes to get back to my former productive self. I am so depressed.

Anyhow, I have to restart it from somewhere, therefore, it goes like this…


My mum let out a deep sigh and her shoulders dropped when she checked the latest news in Japan through her iPod touch after we returned to our room at Hôtel Cathédrale from our tram trip. ‘Mao-chan died today.’ She looked visibly distressed while she scrolled the screen.

Mao Kobayashi, a.k.a Mao-chan was a Japanese broadcaster and also a wife of a famous Kabuki actor. She was battling with breast cancer and her days living through the ordeal was recorded in her blog.

I didn’t know much about her and her illness until the BBC featured her as one of the hundred women who influenced the society, 100 Women 2016.

Mum sat at the edge of the bed and uttered, ‘A poor woman. I wish if I could be in her place so her young children would have their mum.’ ‘Oh mum, I never wanna lose you! But I know what you mean…’ We both felt helpless and sad.

‘Let’s visit the cathedral, mum.’ I tapped on her shoulder.

We tried to visit the place one week ago, yet we didn’t in the end because the queue for the entry was too long. However this time, the queue was almost non-existent. It may have been due to the fact that the cathedral was to be closed for the day in twenty minutes time.

The first thing we did as we entered the cathedral was to buy a candle and pray for Mao-chan and her grieving family…

My knowledge about her was best described as sketchy, but her untimely tragic death did touch me.

Unlike her, we are very fortunate, mum and I agreed as we placed a flickering candle on the tray.

Time spent with one’s loved one. That was what she must have craved ardently yet it was cruelly snatched away from her. It must have been heartwrenching for her to realise that she would have to leave them behind.

I promised to mum that I would never ever bore mum or Hubbie with me moaning about lines on my face or freckles on my nose. Because I was so lucky to be alive and all the marks I bore on my body were evidence of my physical existence in this world.

Poor Mao-chan would have loved to have lots of laughter lines on her beautiful face and to grow old happy! For her sake, we must try to be grateful and enjoy everyday as it comes, mum and I put our hands together and prayed.

After dedicating a candle and prayer, we walked around the cathedral.

The inside of the enormous gothic structure was awe inspiring. Soaring walls were like a deep ravine and the nave in front of us was far and long…

Before the present cathedral was constructed between 1176 to 1439, there was a cathedral in a Romanesque style with three apses which was reputed to be decorated with gold and precious stones.

We wanted to explore this amazing place  longer but a church official started to herd up the visitors towards the exit, pointing at his wrist watch. Ok, ok, OK! We’ve got your message. We gingerly started to walk to the door.

Out of the darkness…

and into the light…

Now, we must find somewhere to have our last supper at Strasbourg…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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