Mar 23, 2011

Earthquake "Aftershocks"

Please forgive me if I vent/rant/rave today!  I started writing in the morning in a good mood but by afternoon it was snowing and I wasn't feeling so peppy.

Dear Boys,
I know I said we needed to try to wear things twice and not dirty so many clothes because of the laundry situation, but you still need to a) wear underwear and/or b) change your underwear everyday.  Same goes for socks.  Also, how long has the upstairs bathroom been out of toilet paper?
Nevermind.  Don't tell me.

Dear Neighbors,
Anyone want to have a bonfire with me to burn all of our paper recyclables that aren't being picked up?  Should I be concerned that I'm really in the mood to burn things?  Yes?

Dear Friends and Family in the States,
MANY (possibly every person I've talked to?) of my friends and neighbors have expressed disbelief at what they're hearing from back in the states.

With the sort of suspended state of reality we're living in, it's hard to believe that life in America just keeps going on.  Unfortunately, It's hard to get excited about trivial, normal, happy things.

More unfortunate, it's even hard to feel normal sympathy for anything outside of Japan when a friend lost half of her extended family to the tsunami.
And our neighbors had their whole town washed away.
And thousands of people have died and there aren't enough body bags in Japan for the bodies washing up on the beaches.
And there are 300+ Japanese workers who will die painfully from radiation poisoning because they're trying to prevent an even worse nuclear disaster.  --sigh--  So sorry if we're a little checked-out right now.


Speaking of heightened/blunted/irrational/hyper-sensitive/repressed/extreme emotions, we've been warned to watch for signs of PTSD in ourselves and our children.  Here's a quote from our Branch President (from about a week and a half ago) who is also one of the docs here on base:
"...[N]ow that the adrenaline has passed and we trying to get back to normalcy, please know that we have all experienced a natural disaster beyond comprehension. Our view of the world we live in has changed. We will never take for granted a bottle of water or a nice warm house ever again. We all have various ways to deal with the affects of what we have been through. Here come's the doctor in me-- but know that possible reactions might include upset stomach, headaches, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, fatigue, fear, nightmares, guilt and sadness etc... These are completely normal. Please don't close up, but go and talk to your neighbors and friends. We all need someone to talk/vent to, even a shoulder to cry on. Those who are active duty, I understand the demands being placed on you, but please ensure time to talk to your spouse and children, both for you and them (and if you're single, talk to one of the other singles). Home and Visiting teachers- now is the time to shine!"

One of the Military Family Life Consultants told us not to be surprised if our children start to regress; have accidents, start sucking thumbs again, etc.  (Roxanna's toddler isn't sleeping through the night anymore because the aftershocks wake her up.)

Someone else mentioned another symptom might be lack of recall or short term memory loss.  I can personally attest to having experienced this.  I can't remember anyone's name to save my life.  All of my conversations sound like this:  "So you know that...girl...lady...with the husband...and the kids......who have the hair...?"  
Response:  Blank stare.
(Tami keeps saying:  "Liz has the...the...the...the HowYaDoin' so she'll bring that." :)

So far, the parents and grown-ups seem a lot more shaken up than the kids.  The kids are still somewhat removed from things.  The parents know exactly what is going on.

Although, come to think of it; Max is checking out of reality by reading non-stop, Sammy's teacher left with the Voluntary Departure--contributing to his now constantly unstable (and unhappy) mood, and Gabey still asks every.single.morning if he has pre-school today...(Answer: No. Only Day-care for kids of essential personnel.)  So I guess they're not as oblivious as I'd like to believe.

Okay, I'm done for today.  I'm being Debbie Downer.  (Wha-wahhh!)

Tomorrow will surely be better.  A group of us Moms are volunteering for a work detail with the Red Cross.  We'll be going to Hach for half a day to do clean up while some other kind ladies watch our kids.  I doubt it will be "fun" but it will definitely be an adventure.  And hopefully helpful!

We're having another aftershock.

I'm done.


Warner clan said...

O Emily! I love you, you trooper! Our thoughts are with you as we go through regular life here. So sorry for all the sadness!

Kristen said...

Em, I cannot imagine. Americans... Especially me... Tend to complain about high class problems.

I hope your warm, I hope you have enough food. We will continue to pray for your family and all of Japan.

I hope your boys put on underwear tomorrow :)

I am so sorry!

TJ said...

i get it. not completely, but i do get it in a small way. kind of how i feel when people post on facebook how their husband is gone for four days and how will they survive.

it takes all i have sometimes to scroll on past without saying something mean.

not to mention that the last two sundays at church they have been asking for money for the 'scout drive' to raise money for boys to go to scout camp.

for reals??? like really???
how about please donate to the humanitarian aid fund because the boys should be earning their own darn money for scout camp.

i appreciate your blog. it helps me remember there is a big world outside of our small town.

i don't know if you'll choose to or be made to evacuate, but if you come through sea-tac, or JBLM, my house would be yours. as would my washing machine and dryer. and speaking of, i forgot to put my husbands stuff in the dryer....

Linz said...

I can't imagine either. It must be really frustrating to be on hold, while the rest of the world keeps moving forward at breakneck speed. I'll keep praying for you!!

Marni said...

Please know that even though things seem trivial over here, they are not. Every time I see something or even think about Japan, I pray - especially for you and your family! We haven't forgotten about you - and wish so much that we could do more than "just" pray! We love you!

Kellie said...

I was going to try to think of some consoling words but I know you and you would see right through it :) I have no idea how you are feeling but I do wish things were better for you and I will pray for you and those around you. Probably an experience that will shape your outlook for the rest of your life. I think your post was more positive than I would have been. All I can think of is a quote from Nemo.... "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming....." -miss you

Kellie said...

k- so that last quote was supposed to be my way of saying keep on goin... but I read it again after I posted it and now it seems more sick humor than funny. oh well, you of all people will hopefully just roll your eyes at me and know I tried :) ... sorry it didn't come out quite right... I'll stop now... THIS IS WHY I NEVER COMMENT! :)

ryanandginger said...

Never a downer to read your blogs! It gives us something to pray for, helps us understand, and gives us the always needed perspective about life. If it helps you, continue to write..... because it is helping lots of people in the process! I was worried about PTSD a week or so ago, thinking about those children. But I can understand how, often, they are doing better than the adults who have the full scope of knowledge. Thanks for sharing and know we think about you all EVERY day!!!

Jessi said...

You are awesome. Your rants are awesome. It is a wake up call for all of us surrounded by blue skies and full refrigerators.

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog while searching for food storage articles. :-) I just wanted to let you know I read your words and pray for everyone...your immediate family, your military family, your Japanese family and your extended family here in the States.

Never give up and don't stop writing. My family is praying and rooting for you and all those in Japan!

Thank you for your posts.
Sincerely from Washington State

Charity said...

Our family in Alaska continues to pray for you daily. Hope they help.

Anonymous said...

Emily, I have been following your blog since the day I found your link from Liz's. You inspire me because you are REAL. Don't feel bad to be real. Anyone who is in your shoes right now feels the same way, the difference is you are also not afraid to put it down on a blog for the world to read. People in America are a bit checked out. It really irritates me. Ever since the President bombed Libya I have hardly heard a thing about Japan and that REALLY bothers me. Now the big quake in Thailand again...I think for some people they are just turning their faces and thinking it's too much and they are fine. I WANT TO HELP! Every time I try to I am told I can't ship things. I have bags of stuff waiting to get to you guys. Warm clothes, hygiene items, etc. I also have many more people who want to donate. I am struggling to find a way to get it there. The church says Japan only wants money right now and won't take goods.

Stay strong and know that you are helping so many people by being human! Please keep blogging!

S. Tallman said...

As I sat in my nice comfortable living room watching news coverage of the devastation in Japan the day after it happened, a commercial came on for something totally silly and shallow, and it seemed WRONG, WRONG, WRONG... My prayers will continue for you, your family, the members of the Misawa branch, and all the people of Japan who are suffering from this horrific event. May we be grateful for the important things, reverence life, and remember those who struggle.

Little Chicks Info said...

Hey Emily...was referred to your blog by my cousin Mindy Perkins...I am moved to tears for Japan and for those who are suffering...we feel helpless with ways to help, so far away but reading and hearing about the many miracles and saddnesses happening...please know we pray for you! Can I share your blog on my blog? There are so many who would benefit from a "reality check" over here by reading your day-to-day events and hearing first hand what you are going through...God bless you, your husband and your children...the church is true and aren't the scriptures so comforting? I'm over at I won't post your link without your can e-mail me at
My motto too! Keep Calm and Carry On...I have that hanging in my house...I'll get you one when your back in the states! Christine

Mothership said...

Yes, our lives here in the States are much the same. But, like some others who have commented, it is not totally the same. Because of your frank posts, and your life being similar to mine in many ways, the disaster has struck home. I have gone through my emergency supplies and am working to remedy some of the blank spaces that you suggested we re-evaluate. I have gained a new appreciation for warm water straight from the tap and the other luxuries that seemed so common "before." Our whole family has tried to stay current on news from Japan so that our prayers can remain accurate and specific.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the good people of Japan (especially those working on the reactors). Please keep writing because it keeps us in touch with the realities of other people's worlds and reminds us to be grateful.

God bless you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted you to know that your blog is being passed around at a very fast pace BECAUSE you are real and so strong! Those of us in the states want to know what's REALLY going on-- not just what the death toll is (which is horrible by the way!). I don't know you, but I'm grateful for your courage and your honesty. Thank you for letting us have a glimpse of your reality. We are praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Found your blog via a 'survival' site - it's information that we are not getting on our news - and I thank you for that. Somehow, as Americans, we seem to have lost the ability to focus on anything for more than 3 days. Not good. Japan is quickly becoming a footnote on the evening news and that disturbs me greatly. Your blog keeps it front and center in my mind and prayers. We pray for your family and adopted country every day.

Unknown said...

We are praying for you. For Japan. For your family. Please keep writing. You are blessing us ALL by doing so.

Lots of love and prayers,

Jennie {Cinnaberry Suite}

Anonymous said...

Found your post via Facebook link. We lived in Misawa 30 years ago -- and when you live somewhere, you leave a piece of your heart when you move. You are living my worst nightmare and my thoughts, prayers and hopes go to you and yours and to the Japanese people around you. Hang in...

Gabriele Kubo said...

Emily, you are the most amazing person. Your descriptions are the most fitting descriptions I ever read about the quake. I am still without words myself and we lived through the quake only in Shonan, 300 km away from Tohoku.
We will be back in Japan and I will contact you soon concerning the backpacks. All my respect to you!!