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I’m mentally insecure because of 2011 disaster

The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a housewife in my 50s. I lost my parents in the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

When I was looking for my parents after they went missing in the disaster, I saw small children who were dead.

I’m still anguished by the loss of my parents. I also imagine how these children would feel sad about dying that way. Since that time, my spiritual balance has been disturbed. In a word, I’m a wreck.

After the disaster, a grandchild was born. I’ve once again recognized the importance of life and children as a precious treasure.

So when I learn from news reports about brutal people who kill or injure children, I can’t stop hating them. Why can they do such terrible things? Once I start thinking about it, I’m too scared to even watch TV.

People probably can’t understand how I feel. The truth is, I think a lot about how to punish such cruel people. I can’t even forgive lawyers who defend offenders.

I can’t express these feelings to anybody. How can I regain and maintain my spiritual balance?

A, Iwate Prefecture

Dear Ms. A:

After reading your letter, I can’t stop shivering. If you hadn’t told us what is in your mind, I couldn’t have imagined even slightly what it is like for people recovering from the disaster in the region.

When a sorrowful incident is reported, we mourn for its victim and feel anger toward the offender. But we stop short of doing more. In the end, we just pray and feel relief by doing that, and that’s all.

Your anger is nothing like that. You take on the sadness of people who die a regrettable death with all your physical and spiritual strength. What’s more, how deeply sad you have been so far? Until today you’ve endured your sadness without being able to tell it to anybody. During that time, however, I think you’ve really listened to the voices of your parents and those children and received from them the gift of considering other people.

It’s certain nobody wants you to retaliate. Instead, I hope you will spend some time with people who have had similar experiences and talk with them so that the flame of life left behind by deceased people will not die out. I also hope you will convert your energy of anger into the energy of kindness. Don’t you think it would be their wish?

We can only feel our own sorrow. We can’t experience the sorrow of others. But I believe we can share sorrow with other people. And I believe you have the ability to do so.

Hazuki Saisho, writer

(from March 8, 2016, issue)Speech

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