A Sky of Infinite Blue: A Japanese Immigrant’s Search for Home and Self
Finding love, building a life together, dealing with loss. Many memoirs that center on life partnerships address these themes. What’s different about A Sky of Infinite Blue: A Japanese Immigrant’s Search for Home and Self is author Kyomi O’Connor’s heartfelt take on a multitude of beginnings and endings on a most eventful journey.
Starting anew in one’s adopted country can be rife with challenges. Told from Kyomi’s point of view, the book tells of the life she left behind in Japan. Family woes and the failure of a previous marriage add layers of complexity as she navigates a new life in America: graduate school, dating, work, and friendships.
She meets Patrick, an Irish immigrant, who would eventually become the love of her life and her “bestest friend.” The fond memories of courtship and tender moments during their marriage are balanced with the trials experienced by a dual-career couple with many demands on their time and attention. Kyomi and Patrick find refuge in their spiritual path through Buddhism to stay grounded. The practice sustains them in their darkest hours. Then, the heart-wrenching agony of illness enshrouds the couple for years before Patrick eventually loses the battle.
Beyond a story of love and loss, A Sky of Infinite Blue is a memoir of purpose. As I read the memoir from my lens as an immigrant, both empathy and compassion blossomed for Kyomi’s story of seeking belonging and contentment. She offers an unflinching look at the process of defining oneself and purpose in a new country. Kyomi expresses profound concern for Patrick’s happiness while asserting her need to find meaningful work that sustains her soul. Specializing in pediatric dentistry, it is admirable that she chose to work where her talents are most needed: serving Black communities in Baltimore and working for the Indian Health Service in California.
The book excels in spotlighting the immigrant’s experience of American corporate culture, which can be invisible to those who take work cultures for granted. Kyomi writes frankly about work demands that took their toll on Patrick’s physical and mental well-being, as he struggled in very competitive, soul-draining, and friendless workplaces.
In relaying the trials of Patrick’s illness, Kyomi appeared to have put her own life on hold. Dealing with sickness for years consumed Kyomi, and in the final chapters, we see glimpses of her willful spirit only in serving as Patrick’s caregiver. It is a testament to the ruinous effects of debilitating disease. Harnessing her meditative practice, Kyomi leans on being present and letting go, even as everything is falling apart.
A Sky of Infinite Blue is a touching, haunting reminder that acceptance can still be a struggle to achieve even amid a solid spiritual foundation.
|Page Count||312 pages|
|Publisher||She Writes Press|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|
|Category||Biographies & Memoirs|