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[crossposted from Princess Wordplay's blogpost ( http://princesswordplay.com/2011/03/28/life-death-and-disaster-in-japan-saying-goodbye-to-shiomi/ ) with permission from Kia and Princess.]

When disaster strikes, it affects us all in one way or another. For many of us this effect is very indirect. We watch video footage, eye newspaper photographs, and shiver, knowing that these things could also happen to us. Still, it all seems so distant. Stories of devastation, threats of nuclear reactor meltdown, and climbing death tolls are not as real to us when they are on the other side of the globe.

Yes, many of us are too detached to feel the reality of it. Sometimes we even prefer it that way. We try our best to stay optimistic, hope for a brighter day, and stuff thoughts of catastrophe back into the deep unconscious parts of our minds.

Then there are those times when something real grabs us and shakes us to the core. We are jerked into the moment, and our minds become flooded with emotions as we are overcome by the sheer impact of that reality. It’s in that moment we understand the true nature of these events.

That is how it was for me, as I did my duty and comforted a friend who was mourning the loss of another. As Kia told me of her friend’s death, I became swiftly reminded that mortality is such a fickle thing. It was in the wake of this realization that I chose to write the words you are now reading.

Shiomi Ishida was a mother to three children. She was a marine biologist and an avid surfer who loved the ocean. She dreamed of moving away from the crowded cities of Japan and settling on the coast of Greenland, where she could live in quiet bliss with the people and things she loved.

Shiomi gave up that dream, along with her life, when she chose to fight raging flood waters to rescue a young boy she had never met before. Her attempt was successful, but the amount of energy required left her too drained to save herself.

It is here that I fulfill a promise to Kia, my friend, that Shiomi’s selfless and heroic act would not go unrecorded. Humanity, at least in my little corner of the world, will know this name, this face, this loss of life. In doing so, we are reminded just how fragile we really are.

 

 
 

Shiomi Ishida
Victim by Fate,
Heroine by Choice

RIP

 

March 2011

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