It's been a time of anxiety and fear. We've tried to contact our relatives, but the phone lines were down in Sendai last night.
Phone calls were racing back and forth last night and this morning between the three sisters here in Hawaii trying to impart any news they'd heard about the situation in Sendai and Tokyo.
We've also been concerned about a dear friend of ours and his family in Tokyo and my (Hawaii) cousin's husband who was visiting his family in Fukushima which is located between Sendai and Tokyo. My nephew's wife, Miho's family also lives in Tokyo. Miho reassured Mom that her family is doing well although they are staying at a shelter right now.
This morning, my aunt in Hawaii called with exciting news. She was able to get through at last to their sister in Sendai.
Apparently, my aunt, uncle and cousin were sleeping in their car because it was too dangerous to stay in their house which though still standing is unstable and in shambles. My aunt needed to use the bathroom so she ran into the house quickly just when my Hawaii aunt placed her call. She was able to reassure us that they were very badly shaken but fine. The call was short because my uncle was frantically calling for her to get out of the house.
This is a photo of us with my aunt and cousin during our 2008 trip. It was such a peaceful, happy, lovely day.
This is a photo of my mother with her brother in Tokyo, also from 2008 when we went there with my brother, Dennis.
This afternoon, I placed a call for her to Tokyo. My uncle and his family live in a relatively new home built with the latest earthquake proof specifications. They incurred no damage at all. In fact, he'd been desperately and unsuccessfully trying to call Sendai to find out how their sister fared. He laughed realizing that he was getting news about Japan from his sister living in Hawaii.
The latest call from my aunt here in Hawaii reassured us that her daughter's husband had called to say he was at Narita Airport getting ready to board a plane to return to Hawaii.
Oahu incurred very little damage from the reports I've heard recently. However, I know many of the boats in the marina sustained some damage. All the public and many private schools on the island were closed today. My brother was sent home from work as well. The tsunami alert is down to just an advisory right now.
Although we are relieved that our family seems to be alright for now, we are still reeling from the tragic loss of life and devastation all around northern Japan. Each new piece of information is more horrible than the one before.
Our hearts are very heavy. I'm looking outside at the sunshine and bright skies, but everything looks different. The day is different.
I told my mom about all your love and prayers from around the world. She was amazed, so very touched and asked me to thank you with all her heart. It meant more to us than I can adequately express.
It's truly a time to hold each other and be grateful for all we have at this moment. In just a few awful seconds, life can change so much. I am sending you all our love and gratitude for your kind words, prayers and thoughts.