10-year-old letter arrives from daughter lost to tsunami

By Cara Clegg

"I wonder if you’ll have a grandchild when you get this letter?"

These are the words written by a woman 10 years ago, before she lost her life in the March 2011 tsunami. Her mother and father were shocked to find the letter containing them arrive in the mail this January. While there was no Hollywood movie ending where their beloved daughter turned up alive and well, the letter has at least given them a chance to hear some of the things she never had the chance to tell them in life.

One of the many people to go missing in the 2011 Tohoku disaster was a woman of 26 who was employed as a temp worker in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture. She had graduated high school in 2003 and started working as a bus guide for a bus company in Kyoto, but had then returned to her hometown of Otsuchi at her parents’ urging. When the tsunami struck, she was in the town hall, and it’s thought she was swallowed by the water along with her co-workers. Her house escaped damage and her parents were unhurt, but she was never found. After half a year, her parents regretfully submitted notification of her death.

Her father, 59, and mother, 51, have been stricken with grief, as they were the ones who had wanted her to return home. They have spent each painful day since the disaster regretting ever asking her to move back to the town.

However, when her father returned home from work on Jan 12 this year, he found a white envelope waiting in the post box. He recognized his daughter’s familiar, neat handwriting, and opened it filled with hope that she could be alive somewhere.

Unfortunately this was not the case, but what he did find was a link with the daughter he had lost. Inside the envelope were two pieces of writing paper, filled with her thoughts and feelings about the day she had left home for work and the day she started her job as a bus guide, as well as musings about where she might be 10 years from then.

She had written the letter when visiting the Meiji-mura museum in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, and used their service where they hold onto your letter and deliver it 10 years later. Written on Jan 10 2004, it had arrived as scheduled in 2014.

Just before the disaster, she had gotten engaged to a classmate from her middle school who she’d been with for eight years. In the letter she had written "I think I might be married and have kids, but what if I’m all alone." Reading this, her mother murmured, "Who’d have thought she wouldn’t even be here in 10 years?"

The unexpected arrival was a shock to her parents who were still in mourning. They’d had no idea about the letter, and they also hadn’t known about some of the feelings their daughter expressed in it. One line that stood out is where she tells her parents, "Mom and Dad you’ve done so much for me, so I want to return the favor to you from now on."

Source: Livedoor News

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Girl who lost father in last year’s deadly Hokkaido blizzard pens heart-wrenching thank-you letter -- Tsunami Survivors Share Their Stories: Resurrecting Otsuchi, Japan -- 12 tales of true hospitality from Japanese hotels and inns

© RocketNews24

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19 ( +20 / -1 )

Oh god that's so sad...

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Cruel. Unintentionally so, but cruel all the same.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Wow. That must have been like a punch in the gut.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Wow. I see a movie somewhere..

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Literally tearing up as I read this article. Heart-wrenching.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

The parents must feel so guilty that they urged her to come home, even though its not really their fault. They must be saying "If only we hadn't..." almost everyday.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I hope this letter service takes a hint from this and marks all mail clearly in big red letters "This mail is 10 years old". Its not cool to get a letter from someone missing three years then have to figure that one out for yourself, all the while thinking the lost person is found or alive.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Sad... So sad, but at least the parents got to hear from her again, in a way.

1 ( +3 / -3 )

wow, i can't imagine the guilt the parents must be feeling because they asked their daughter to move back to the area.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's very touching and inspirational.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Got something in my eye ... it's awfully dusty in this room.


0 ( +2 / -2 )

There is little that makes my eyes well up but this story got me. Quite sad yet a small ray of light that must have touched and helped her parents.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“Mom and Dad you’ve done so much for me, so I want to return the favor to you from now on.”

Think of it this way: her parents have a permanent testimony direct from their daughter of how much she loves them. I hope they will come to see it this way and that it will bring them comfort, for we will all pass on in time, and yet our love remains.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Wow...that is so sad and somewhat ironic that she even had the foresight to do that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I can't even write the emotion is so strong...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Death is not the greatest loss in life , the greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What? That is one misleading headline. This is really a heart-stopping story, once I figured it out...and Zichi-san echoes my sentiment, once again. Three years is nothing to those who lost loved ones.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In a way a nice goodbye, from outer land. She was a great, good hearted daughter and her parents must be proud of her, R.I.P.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why dont Japanese people ever express their feelings directly to the people they care about?

I tell everyone in my life exactly how I feel.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Everything happens for a REason!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

This is so sad ;[. May she rest in peace.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Damn... Make me cry suddenly

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cruel, I don't think so. The parents got to hear from their daughter one last time but with all the hope and dreams of an 18 year old.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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