Earthquake anniversary

So, it's becoming difficult to watch TV again: the anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake is tomorrow at 2.46pm, and the documentaries analysing and assessing the rate and mode of recovery of the affected areas, or once more picking over the corpse of that dreadful day, are on morbid loop on almost all channels. I'm a little hesitant to watch them to be honest.

Not because I want to forget what happened - I don't, I can't - but because of what happened last time. The documentaries we watched at the 6 month mark, brought the horror back with a vividness that traumatized us all, especially the kids. So much so, they were unable to sleep properly for a while, and Ma-chan ended up sleeping on the floor in their room for a several weeks.

I've got my earthquake day story, like all who were here at the time, but I never tell it. I did a few times in the aftermath of the disaster itself - it was pretty much all we talked about for a good few weeks - and then I stopped. I stopped as I assimilated my own response to what I had witnessed and I began to understand my feelings regarding the relative scot-freeness I and my family 'got away' with.

It wasn't so much that I was embarrassed by how little (except in the sense of the general inconvenience and disruption) my life was affected by the events and their knock-on effect, although I was, I am, but was more to do with the overwhelming sense of relief I felt over the fact that we, by the chance virtue of where we lived, had been spared the awfulness experienced by so many. Or more accurately it was to do with the shame and guilt that accompanied that relief. I realised that I had no right to talk about what had happened, not really. It wasn't my disaster, I just watched it on TV. And it's not my reconstruction I'm just watching it on TV again, in absolute awe of the spirit of the local people, and when I can, I'm sending my money and my prayers in the hope that they may contribute in some very small way to the recovery process.   


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