Jenna ended up having brain cancer and didn't last long and David was devastated even thinking about ending his own life. Jenna always wanted to go to Japan but it was never a good time plus they didn't have a lot of money. David decided he'd make the trip in memory of her and commit suicide in a popular forest in Japan called Aokigahara. It's a location known by the Japanese as a place of spirits and a culturally accepted place to commit suicide.
When David reached the woods, he took out a bottle of pills he was going to use to kill himself and just before doing it, he saw a man around 30 yards away on his knees sobbing. David instinctively went up to the man and saw that he was Japanese and that he had cut his wrist. The man allowed David to use his tie and place a tourniquet on his forearm.
The man's name was Kanji and he knew English, so they began talking about why they were there. In Kanji’s case he had lost an important job and could no longer take care of his family; he was ashamed. Kanji told David that he learned English from television and having his mom read books to him; he said his favorite was Hansel and Gretel. Unlike David who didn't believe in God and thought that once he committed suicide it would just be over, Kanji was very spiritual and said there is life after death and that our loved ones even after they pass, are always with us.
Kanji had lost a lot of blood and was too weak to hike, so David told him to sit still and that he’d run for help; there was no cellphone service in the woods. While trying to get out of the woods and to the parking lot, David fell down a ravine and a limb went through his side and he couldn't move. Several hours later he was discovered by a park ranger.
David did his best to tell the ranger, who couldn't speak English, that Kanji was still in the woods, but they focused on getting David to the hospital where he stayed for several weeks. When David got to the hospital there was an interpreter, so she let the rangers know about Kanji, and they went looking for him without success.
They went back to the hospital and asked David if he knew Kanji’s last name, so they could check with his family, but he didn’t and unfortunately the name Kanji in Japan was like having the name John in the U.S. He remembered that Kanji told him his children’s names and he did his best to pronounce them, but they said they weren’t children’s names and left it at that. David was once again heartbroken because he couldn't do anything to find Kanji, but now his desire to kill himself had passed.
He decided to go back to his job as a teacher and try to start over. One day he was going through some of the clutter he needed to take care of and he saw a small package from Amazon that was addressed to his wife (from her sister who lived out of state), and it was unopened; apparently his wife hadn’t gotten around to opening it before she died.
What was inside was kind of a joke between the two sisters as they hardly read anything when they were little accept for one book that they read a thousand times. The book's title was Hansel and Gretel. David was taken back but logic told him it was a coincidence.
One day David was tutoring a student and the student saw a small note on his desk with just two strange looking words on it. He asked David what the words were, and he told him he had been to Japan (he didn’t go into the whole story), and that it was his attempt to write down a couple of names he heard while he was there. The student asked David if he could look at the note. His family lived in Okinawa, Japan when his dad was in the military, so he thought he would try to sound the words out from what David had written.
The student told David that he didn’t think they were names and that he thought the words were “yellow” and “winter.” David turned pale for a moment and put his head in his hands. Then he began sobbing uncontrollably. The student didn’t know what was happening. Yellow Winter was the name of his wife's favorite place to vacation. It was a small cabin on a beautiful lake that they considered their place.
Then David slowly rose up from the desk and wiped the tears from his eyes and he started smiling for the first time since his wife’s death. Now he knew, she was still with him.
Note: This was my version of the story (and move), Sea of Trees.