Sakura Children Redux

A woman in Miyagi Prefecture washes a shoe found in the wreckage of her house.

About nine months ago, I asked you for postcards for the children of Miyagi Prefecture–a part of Japan leveled, first by an earthquake, and then by a tsunami–a tidal wave that washed so far inland that factories, houses, schools, stores collapsed under water and vanished, along with thousands of children, parents, workers, and teachers.  The devastation hit at the time of the cherry blossom (Sakura) festival, delicate blossoms blooming over devastation.

The postcards were a simple way to let the children know they were not forgotten, that someone cared about them, thought about them, wished them well.

You sent postcards–some of you asked your quilt clubs and Sunday School groups to make them, some of you got your classes and your children to make cards. The first week, I sent thank-you cards for each card that arrived, and then, as cards arrived without names, I thanked you from here. I thought I’d get a few. You sent me hundreds.

With help (many people helped forge the connections), I found a contact in Japan, and sent off the postcards. Some of you sent money to help cover the postage. I never knew if the postcards arrived, or what happened to them.

The postcards in display for the town of Ibaraki, Japan

Until today. I got a package from Japan–a book filled with images of the damage and destruction of Miyagi prefecture. (The picture at the top of the post is from that book.) There was a letter and photos tucked into the book.

The letter said, in part:

Thank you very much for your kindness.
I saw all of the cards.
I’m very impression.
Kitaiharaki City people saw those cards.
I’m thinking bring those cards for elementary school of another city.
I wanted show children worried about Japanese earthquake.
Umehana teacher is thanks to you and children!
She appreciation about that! SO MUCH!

I didn’t “fix” the words because I appreciate the struggle that went into answering me in English–I don’t speak, read or write Japanese, so who am I not to appreciate any effort to write me in English so I can understand the thoughts?

Your postcards in Japan.

What a gift–to know that the postcards were received and appreciated–put on display for all the people in one city to see, and then moved to another city for display.

I recognized some of the cards, I love the idea that they made it and someone hung each one of them.

To all of you who made and sent cards–you helped heal a pain, comforted a loss, sent strength and understanding. Art heals. It doesn’t get better than that. Thank you for helping, thank you for making art. Thank you for taking your time and making the effort to heal through art.

Quinn McDonald is grateful.