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“When I realized the ship was only several meters away, I was chased by the water and debris up the hill. My wife was still in the house," Shiro Yushima, 69, told me in a very gentle voice. I saw him digging through the debris where his house used to be in Onagawa, Miyagi prefecture, trying to find any of their belongings. He was outside the house working in the garden when he saw the massive tsunami moving toward him, pushing with it a ship and debris from the port, almost one kilometer (0.6 miles) away. He knew his wife, Tamako, 67, was in the kitchen, but the wave was rolling so fast that he couldn’t do anything but run up the hill next to his house.

Now he sleeps on the floor in a space just wide enough for himself at the evacuation center in town. On both sides of him are families that survived the tsunami intact.

“It’s very difficult for me to see the families laughing and eating together. So I come here every day trying to spend time with my wife who I couldn’t save.”




It is so important to make sure the people you love? KNOW it. and that we make the people important in our lives truly important. Tsunamis of all kinds could happen when you least expect it. I don't know what I'd do if I lost Dave - suddenly or otherwise. Demonstrative love for our family and friends is so important.

Reading this story overwhelmed me - both in it's impact and it's simplicity.

My heart just breaks for Shiro Yushima. I would be right there too - visiting - trying to cope.. and I don't know how I'd function in his situation.

August 2011

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