19. Overcoming the Grief

My background

I was born as the second daughter to Jiro and Sueko Tanimura in Hagiwara, Kanda-mura, Sera-gun, Hiroshima Prefecture and grew up there helping my parents with farming. I was married to a farmer in Toyota-gun but he died of illness before long. After I returned to my parents and stayed there for a while, I came to Hiroshima to work thanks to my friend' s help. Then I had a chance to meet Toraichi Oride, a massager, and got remarried to him. We were blessed with two daughters and living happily in spite of all the difficulties in the wartime.

How could the god of fate have done that merciless quirk to us? The god dropped the first A-bomb in human history on us and our happy life was instantaneously destroyed and turned into an unimaginable living hell.

Bodies of our daughters were not identified

My husband and I were buried under the house but our relatives living close to us saved us from the debris. We desperately fled from the approaching fire to the river near Betsuin Temple.

Our elder daughter was exposed to the bomb on the way to work and the second daughter was at school. Both of them must have died at that moment. Their bodies have not been identified yet.

We took refuge in a temple in Midorii, Sato-cho, Asa-gun, keeping off our hunger with some relief rice balls on the night of August 6th. On the following day, we went to one of our relatives, the Takeyama' s, and decided to stay there for some time. Despite the inconvenience of transportation and the sweltering heat, my husband and I went back and forth to Hiroshima every day to search for our daughters, mainly around Senda-machi Post Office and Hirose-kitamachi Higher Elementary School. Our efforts ended in failure, and they are still missing. Both of us were about to go insane in those days.

It was a scorching summer. The whole city of Hiroshima was burnt out. Heaps of rubble were all over the city. Some people were working hard to cremate the remains. The others, including us, were desperately looking for their family in spite of no transportation system functioning. None of them looked real in this world. The most difficult thing to us parents was that we had no way to know even whether or not our children were alive. It took us long to come to terms.

Just absent-minded

In addition to the sudden loss of our two daughters, there came another blow to me. My husband died on September 7th, one month later, although he had looked healthy. Walking around to look for our daughters in the intense heat must have affected and led to his death. He became weaker everyday. Only a week of hospitalization in the Toyohira Hospital, he died.

I was just vacant with the indescribable agony. I remained to stay with the Takeyama' s, my husband' s relatives. Then I was loved by Tatsuichi Takeyama and married to him. I would work hard on their farm as a member of the Takeyama.

For quite a while I was free from illnesses and working hard on the farm until I was hospitalized at Toyohira Hospital in May 1977 with softening of the brain and chronic hepatitis. Although I did not completely get well, I left the hospital in October and entered this nursing home when my conditions somewhat improved and became stable.

Shedding tears remembering my daughters

Whenever I see kind, friendly nursing staff here, I shed tears being reminded of my daughters thinking, “If they were alive, they would be the similar ages. ” I live, praying for the repose of my daughters and my husband' s souls, with gratitude to the nursing staff and others in the home. I hope war shall never be repeated, as it forces us into never-forgetting misery.

Written by Mura Takeyama (80)

The place of my exposure
Inside my rented house at 2-6 Hirosekita-machi, Hiroshima, 1.5km from the hypocenter
Acute symptoms in those days
Light injury on my right toe.
Loss of hair a week later, (despite the fact that any internal disease was unthinkable)
About my family
My husband: No injury although he was inside the house and buried under the debris of the house.
Our elder daughter (17): She was exposed to the A-bombing on the way to work, the post office in Senda-machi, and died.
Our second daughter (14): She died at Hirosekita-machi Higher Elementary School, where she was in the second year.