- The most beautiful star in the sky is Mama

4-year-old boy who lost mom to tsunami: 'The most beautiful star in the sky is Mama'

Http__mdn_mainichi_jp_features_ne_2 RIKUZENTAKATA, Iwate -- "The most beautiful star in the sky is Mama," says a young boy, repeating what his father told him, as he looks up at the clear night sky.
Four-year-old Ritsu and his 2-year-old brother Ei lost their mother, 32-year-old Kumiko Oikawa, to the tsunami. Kumiko, who liked the piano, had given her sons musical names: "Ritsu" from the word "senritsu," meaning "melody," and "Ei," meaning the chanting or singing of poetry.
 An employee of the city library, Kumiko fled with her co-workers to a gym next to the library on the day of the earthquake, but it was there that she was taken by the tsunami.
 At the time of the earthquake, Ritsu and Ei were at their nursery school having a nap. As the tsunami approached, the nursery school teachers told Ritsu and Ei and the other children not to stop to put on their shoes or coats as they fled the school.
 "I was only wearing my socks, so my feet started to hurt and the teacher picked me up," said Ritsu. He, his younger brother, and their father Katsumasa, 33, all survived.
 Now, Ritsu and Ei are staying at their maternal grandparents' house. When grandmother Mamiko, 62, was talking of her lost daughter, tears began to swell in her eyes. Nearby, Ritsu was momentarily tearful as well, but soon he was cheerful again. Ei, meanwhile, posed like superhero Ultraman and proclaimed, "I'll protect you, Grandma."
 It was seven days after the tsunami that Ritsu took up a pen and drew a picture that would capture the heart of his grandmother. It was a portrait of his smiling mother, Kumiko.
 "I want to get washed away so I can see Mama," said Ritsu, too young to understand the terror of the tsunami. With a sad and lonely feeling, Mamiko recorded Ritsu's words on the back of the drawing.
 Kumiko had kept pictures and records of the growth of her two sons meticulously. "That was all washed away, and I have to take on that role now," says Mamiko. "I'm keeping their artwork so that one day I can tell my grandchildren about this time." She keeps the two boys' creations in a sky blue box.
 Heading out to the bath, separate from the main building of his grandparents' house, Ritsu said, "I'm gonna see if Mama's out there." Outside, he looked up and searched the sky.
 "That most beautiful star in the middle is Mama. I want to turn into a shining star and I want Mama to hold me and we'll look down at the city together," he says.
 If he could meet his mother, Ritsu has something he would tell her: "Daddy's OK."
(Mainichi Japan) April 7, 2011

東日本大震災:お星になったママ 残った4歳と2歳「波になって会いたいな」--岩手・陸前高田
 「一番きれいな星が、ママだよ」。パパに教えられ、澄んだ夜空を見上げる。岩手県陸前高田市の保育園児、及川律ちゃん(4)は、東日本大震災で母久美子さん(32)を亡くした。「ぼくも流されて、ママに会いたいなあ。波になりたい」。小さな手で描いた母の似顔絵。いっしょに暮らし始めたおばあちゃんは、孫の無邪気な言葉を絵の裏に書き留めた。【長野宏美】
 市立図書館の職員だった久美子さん。あの日、大きな揺れの後で隣接する市立体育館に同僚らと避難し、そこで津波にのまれた。仕事着のエプロン姿のままだった。
 律ちゃんと弟の詠(えい)ちゃん(2)は保育園で昼寝をしていた。旋律の「律」と歌の「詠」。ピアノ好きだった久美子さんが名前をつけた。兄弟は保育士に導かれ、靴を履かず上着も着ないで大津波から逃げた。「靴下だったから途中で足が痛くなって、先生にだっこしてもらったの」と律ちゃん。市職員の父克政さん(33)も無事だった。
    ☆
 兄弟はいま、近くの母方の祖父母宅に避難している。久美子さんを思うと、祖母まみ子さん(62)は思わず涙ぐむ。律ちゃんも泣き顔になるが、すぐ笑顔を見せる。詠ちゃんは「バアバを守ってあげる」と得意のウルトラマンのポーズを取る。
 津波が起きて7日後のことだった。こたつにいた律ちゃんがボールペンで絵を描いた。にっこり笑う母の顔。
 「ぼくも流されてママに会いたいなあ」 津波の恐ろしさをまだ理解できず、母に会いたい思いを口にする律ちゃん。切ない気持ちで、まみ子さんは絵の裏にその言葉を書き込んだ。

  兄弟の写真や成長の記録をきちょうめんに整理していた久美子さん。「すべて流されたので、私が代わりにやってあげないと……。いつかこの時のことを孫たちに伝えるためにも、大事にとっておきます」 2人の孫の「作品」を水色の箱にしまっている。
    ☆
 「ママがいるか、確かめるんだ」 律ちゃんは、パパやおばあちゃんと別棟にあるお風呂に行く時、夜空を見上げる。
 「真ん中の一番きれいな星がママ。抱っこされて、夜空のキラキラお星になって、一緒に街を見たいな」
 ママに会えたら、律ちゃんは伝えたいことがある。「パパは無事だったよ。ママ、おうちにずっといてちょうだい」