Friday, March 11, 2011


I'm riveted by the images from today's earthquake in Japan. Each image of swaying shelves in grocery stores and businessmen huddled under desks takes me back six years, to the November when husband and I were in Costa Rica.

He had surprised me with a birthday/anniversary gift of a long weekend in my adopted country, this time just the two of us in a tiny bed-and-breakfast in the central plateau. But in the wee hours of the morning we woke up because the room was rocking.

I had lived in-country for several years, and knew the conventional wisdom (during the earthquake stand in an interior door frame) but we were in a one-story cottage with a tin roof--if the roof collapsed on us, it was unlikely to be a crushing injury, so we didn't try to walk around until the undulations stopped.

"Huh. An earthquake," we remarked, and went back to sleep. We heard later that someone had been killed in one of the landslides that typically follow a temblor in a mountainous region. That person became an afterthought in our wonderful vacation, someone I didn't think about again until this morning.

Yesterday, a good, kind, hard-working, man died in Small Town. At 59, V was way too young to have contracted the terrible disease that killed him and left his family in mourning.

So this morning I'm thinking about the survivors in Japan, who were struck without warning and whose lives are indelibly changed. I'm thinking about the family of that Tico killed in the earthquake who had disappeared into my mental footnote. I'm thinking about V's family, who had knew this day was coming but have to deal with emotional aftershocks as tangible as the Japanese aftershocks.

And I wish all of them could know that I will remember.

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