It has been quite an emotionally draining month for all of us.
Of course we can't compare our worries and troubles with those in Iwate, Fukushima and Miyagi directly affected by the earthquake, the tsunami and then the nuclear incident but I think the secondary effects are being felt by a far wider portion of the population.
The economic fallout is hurting businesses the length of Japan. K's company can still source all the materials needed to make their products so they are fine in that respect but now they are finding that their customers are cancelling/ cutting back orders as many of them are scaling back production as they can't get all the parts they need.
K's parents are back in their house and back with water, electricity and phone all working well. The aftershocks have continued (literally hundreds of them) but typically they are quite stoic about it "we don't have to worry about so many things breaking as most of them broke in the first quake!" During the day they handle the shocks quite well but the night time after shocks have them waking up and K's mum says she feels like she is not properly rested and then lacks energy throughout the day as a result. But come back and stay with us again? Perish the thought!
The fear of radiation is also weighing on their minds. Even though they are 80km from the nuclear plants and therefore not in the zones the government has placed restrictions on, their city government has recommended they avoid long stretches of time outside where possible, wear masks and remove outside clothing when they come inside and close their curtains to boot. These are all strictly preventative measures for a what if type scenario but they are not really conducive to relaxing living, hey? K's mum says she swings between following all the protective measures and throwing caution to the wind for the chance at a bit of normality (and sunshine!)
I feel public sentiment is swinging in the predictable arc from disbelief, grief, a desperate need to do something-anything- to help and now slowly anger and the search for someone/ something/ anything to blame.
A month riding an emotional rollercoaster means tempers are frayed and rational thinking is suffering. It is sad to see the disaster having a divisive effect on communities when a co-operative approach is far more effective.
On a personal level the girls are more settled about it all now. Meg had her first evacuation drill of the new school year (they have them monthly) and what has been a thrilling break to regular scheduling until now has taken on a bit more gravitas now. She was talking about how you know when the drills are because they are on the calendar but you don't know when a real earthquake comes and how long would they have to wait in the school yard and what if the school got broke and and and....
Amy doesn't talk about her fears as much but they show up in nightmares and night waking and clingyness. She is still a bit more clingy than normal but thankfully we now get to sleep through the night again. Can't believe I used to think waking to soothe kids at night was a normal part of life... how soon we forget!
I feel guilty about not doing more to help the relief effort. I get despondent watching the news and then guilty for not watching. It feels rude to have the luxury of just not turning on the tv and ignoring the problem.
As if to mark the one month anniversary there was aftershock after aftershock all day today. I heard a prediction that we can expect aftershocks for up to a year. I guess this is the new reality for the time being...