31. “Hiroshi,” I Couldn't Do Anything for You

  In those days, my husband had been drafted into the Navy. We, five of us, a mother and four children, were exposed to the A-bombing in different places. Only Hiroshi, my youngest son, died from serious burns caused by the bomb.

  On August 6th, each of us left home to go to national elementary school, middle school, girl's middle school and Yasuda Girl's High School (located in Hakushima-cho) where I worked. Although Hiroshi was a second grader of a national elementary school, he went to the nearby temple where he had been getting lessons temporarily.

  I was buried under the collapsed two-storied school building. Although I fortunately scrambled out of the debris of the building after a long struggle, I was bleeding badly from an injury to my head. I desperately fled and reached the Chojuen area. Then, I waded across the river, in which the water level was low, and walked toward Gion. There, I happened to pass by the house of one of my students. I was given shelter in the student's house overnight.

  The next day, I heard people talk, “There are elementary school age boys at Gion Shrine. They are badly burned. It's pitiful to hear them crying for their mothers.” Although I felt wobbly, I picked myself up and got the student to take me there. I found Hiroshi there. Oh, I still can't find any words to describe what I saw there. I felt such misery, pity and anger that I couldn't shed any tears. Hiroshi gave me a glance. Then he closed his eyes, looking relieved.

  I was not able to get him any treatment there. Some kind person gave us a ride to Hinkyuji Temple in Kabe. However, I couldn't get him any treatment there either, but he begged for water, water, and more water... I gave him as much water as he wanted. He was delirious. I was still covered with blood from injuries, having received no treatment. We, two, had no choice but to lie down together.

  I heard people saying nothing but these words, “This one is dead.” “There is another.” Those dead were taken away one after another whenever found dead, nevertheless, I didn't imagine my son would be one of them.

  Around ten in the morning of August 8th, I noticed he had stopped being delirious, and he passed away after a while. People there in Kabe were kind to cremate him. I received his ashes, and left the temple on the 9th.

  I was grateful that all people were kind to me. I am sorry for the countless people who are in sorrow, because they have not yet collected any ashes from their beloved ones. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to those who erected the monument to the A-bombed students including Hiroshi.

Written by Fumiko Ochiai (Kure City, Hiroshima Pref.)

Death in the Atomic boming :
Hiroshi Nishikawa (a second grader at Misasa National Elementary School)