Voices from FUKUSHIMA Vol.7 Ms. Mikiko MATSUNO

A painful farewell with my children

While I did not have any strength, nor time to think about the future at my sister’s, the reactor No. 1 of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant exploded on March 12th. Why so many trials and tribulations I must face one after another? Had I done something wrong? These thoughts haunted me all the time.
The future of my children, anxiety about radiation exposure, my husband’s emotional instability and my father-in-law at the terminal stage of cancer. What should I put the highest priority on? I was in emotional turmoil. In the meantime, my nephew decided to evacuate to Hokkaido.
My sister said to him, “Take care. Whatever happens, protect your family.” It sounded to me like her last farewell message. The next day, his younger brother joined us at my sister’s on his way to Hokkaido in order to follow his brother. I wanted to save at least my children. A desperate request escaped my lips. “Take my children with you, please.”
I may never see them again. I even prepared for death. In case that the nuclear power plant would explode again, I will no longer be able to see them again nor take care of them. They may become orphans. But I wanted to save their lives. The moment that was most painful during this catastrophe was the separation from my children. You may think that I should have better accompanied them myself.

Take courage, chances will smile on you.
Even though the ship remained, the future was uncertain. My husband became emotionally unstable. I could not choose what to do. Should I take him with me somewhere or leave him alone at home? What’s more, I have my father-in-law whose condition would take a sudden change in any time. Our house was swept away and nothing was left behind. We knew nothing about what would happen next. I could not accompany my children to Hokkaido leaving my husband and my father-in-law, who could not do anything by themselves.
Besides, my mind was in a whirl: if the nuclear power plant would not explode…, if there would be any possibility to build our house…, or I had to do something, at least find an abode for my children when they came back. I blamed myself for not being with my children in this difficult time.
Therefore, the salon activity was something I could be proud of before my children. I wanted them to know that people who remained in Fukushima tried to do their best, even if I made them evacuate. Perhaps I think I wanted that they too were proud of me.
I wanted them to know that there must be something that they could do, even if they appeared not to have anything left. Take courage, chance will smile on you and you can find a way out.
This is the message that I wanted to pass on to them. I wanted them to gain strength to square up to any difficulties whatever happens in the future.