Please read: This is Suda san’s house (located across from Sato-san’s).
“On our last day, Suda-san told us how his daugther had passed away from the tsunami. His daughter was 8 months pregnant when the tsunami struck. As water started to fill the first floor, she was too slow and couldn’t reach the second floor. Mr. Suda was on the stairs, trying to pull his daughter’s hand as the waters rushed in, but the rubble hit their arms and she lost her grip. He said he can still hear her voice shouting, “Daddy, help, help…” But there was nothing he could do. He lost both his daughter and grandson within seconds. He said that scene keeps on repeating in his mind over and over again. It’s like a dream and he still wishes to wake up from it. We helped him to clear out his house and prepare it for renovation; as he is trying to make a restart with his wife, but it is not easy.” (slightly adapted excerpt from Stephan Smithidorff, O.M. Japan)
On that last day, my team and I wept inside for our friend, Suda-san. Seeing this grandfather straining every day to pull out floorboards and knock down walls that couldn’t save his grandson or his daughter just felt wrong. What can you say to someone who’s lost so much? To say, “be strong” would be mocking and we don’t get to talk to him a lot. So, I kept on asking, “What can we do?” So, we empathized; we worked and sweat alongside him; we wept inside. It’s not the Japanese way to be emotional so firm handshakes replaced hugs and, then in two weeks, we said goodbye. But, something about being in his space, talking to him face-to-face, and seeing the grief etched in his face moved us deeply. Suda-san, we are both God’s creation; we share the same humanity and I feel part of your grief. I pray that you come to know God’s joy and hope. Press on, because there is hope.
Continue praying for people like Suda-san, who has to work on his own house (because the government is too occupied with worse-hit regions) and look bleakly at the future. Their grief is on-going, so should our prayers.