Cross-posted from the KQED Public Radio’s Perspectives.
You can read more related posts on The Campanil’s special page about the disaster in Japan.
I am talking to my grandmother for the first time since the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
She lives in Hokkaido, the island up north where there has only been one reported death so far. By the grace of God, she and the rest of my family in Hokkaido are all okay.
However, our family in Sendai, the epicenter of the massive quake, their fate is still unknown.
My grandmother and I are chatting away. We are both completely thrilled to hear each others’ voices. At this moment, I am making her promise me that she will stay alive until the day I die. And she does.
We’re talking about death, God, gratitude, sorrow, kindness, food, love, and our family in Sendai. She is telling me that we have lots and lots of family there — great uncles, aunts, distant cousins — and we can only hope that they’re all okay. But we have yet to hear back from any of them.
Our family in Sendai runs a rice crop and a tomato farm. My grandmother is telling me that she believes her brother is fine for he lives inland, in the mountains, but for the rest, by the coastline — well, she tell me she prays for them everyday.
My grandmother is the strongest woman I know. She’s conquered difficulties in life that are unheard of with grace, faith, and immense will, and this current tragedy is no different. To think that she could be gone in a moment — that any of us could be gone in a moment — made this particular conversation all the more special, valuable, and in many ways, profound.
We go on talking for nearly an hour and by the end of our conversation, my grandmother says to me what usually says before we say our temporary good-bye: work hard, be strong, and I love you. And usually I say “I love you too,” but this time I say, “I love you more.”
With a Perspective, I’m Priscilla Yuki Wilson.