The Penultimate Me.

One of the greatest penultimate episodes of all time aired almost 18 years ago...And in this case, an equally amazing finale.

Welcome to my penultimate post. I first learned the power of “second-to-last” through my career in advertising. Penultimate TV episodes were something we often would seek out.  Not as expensive as a series finale, they offered so much more than the sometimes overblown, often disappointing final episode of a season.

There is still room for hope in a penultimate episode of a story. Still room for a final twist of the tale. And opportunity for a unique tension that allows the show to breathe and build in a way that the last episode can’t. It lives apart from all the hype and expectation of the final chapter. Some may argue the point, but I would say it’s like how AFC/NFC Championship weekend is so much better than the Superbowl.

Both the football season and my life are in full swing these days. It’s been a busy few months as I return to work full time and venture forth with the label of “survivor.” And as I do, I can’t help but think of all of this as a new beginning. “KHP-2.0” is a chance to get it right and start new patterns. To see what pressing the re-set button will bring about. To make the most of the second chance that I’ve been given.

My good friend Coco remarked that at 42 and having gone through something like this, I might be at the half-time of my life.  We discussed what a “coach” might say to me to inspire me to get back on the field. To bring home the win.  And the more I think about it, I really do feel like I’m about to leap into the penultimate period of life.  Assuming the first lifestage is 0-college, the second is early 20’s-42 and the last is 65+, you could say I’m about to start my own 3rd quarter.  My version of “second-to-last.”

My friend of 15+ years, Lawrence is on the right. And that's Kenshi on the left.

Which brings me to a tale of one more “angel” that has rested on my shoulder during my journey to Cancer-land. This angel’s name is Kenshi and aside from being the most incredible shiatsu masseuse in history and my good friend Lawrence’s father-in-law, he has an amazing penultimate story of his own.

As was told to me by Lawrence, Kenshi started to lose his sight when he was in his fifties.  He was a businessman living in Japan and decided that he needed a “Plan B.” So he went to school to learn the art of shiatsu.  And because he couldn’t read well at the time, he would take each page of his textbooks, lay them on an overhead projector and proceed to read the print enlarged on a wall to study. And this is how he learned his craft.  Page by page.  He started his own very successful clinic and then recently moved to Portland to live with his daughter Mai, Lawrence and their two girls.

Lawrence's beautiful young girls, Hana and Eti.

Kenshi’s strong and able hands have been pure magic to me these past seven months.  Always dapper in his white clinic garb, he greeted me at the door every Saturday morning with a smile and a generous but serious spirit . . . classical music always playing in the background. While we couldn’t communicate well through words and Kenshi couldn’t see me, his other senses are extra sharp.  Through touch, he always seems to know just the kind of help I need each week. Kenshi expertly kneaded and pounded and stretched my embattled body and I walked away relaxed and relieved, with my load lightened considerably.

Kenshi with the magic hands.

I’ll always be grateful to LTA and Mai for sharing Kenshi.  And I will always remember the handsome tall man from Japan who, in making the most of his own “second-to-last,” helped me to find the way forward to face my own penultimate episode.

Tune in to see what happens next.

This is one of Kenshi's sculptural paintings...yes, he's an artist too! A treasured gift.

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One Comment

  1. Anna C
    Posted October 24, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    How wonderful that Kenshi moved to Portland and has helped you so much. Big hug Miss Kerri. Xo

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