Don't Simply Survive, Thrive!

Dear MotionWorks Family:

We’ve made it to the Fall of 2020!  Surely this year can’t last much longer, right?  The challenges this year has brought have been many, but surely the end must be near!  MotionWorks continues to be committed to providing the safest way for you and your family to obtain the highest quality physical therapy services to recover quickly from surgery, sports and orthopedic injuries, back pain, neck pain, migraines, and more!

During some of my down time collecting my COVID-preventative Vitamin D at the beach, I’ve been able to find some time to read a real book, Countdown 1945, written by Chris Wallace.  Out of many stories relayed throughout the book on the impact of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in Japan on regular folks here in the US and in Japan, one story stood out in particular.

Wallace describes the life of a 10-year old Japanese girl named Hideko Tamura, whose family lived in Hiroshima.  Due to the bombing of Japan by the US, children were sent out of the major Japanese cities containing military installations, because they were the primary targets of the NATO bombing effort. The Japanese parents were told their children were going to a fun summer camp, but when they children arrived, they realized it was really a work camp for children to assist the Japanese war effort. The children did not get to play and had barely enough food to survive.  Hideko was finally able to get word to her mother past the school’s teachers who censored the children’s letters home, that it really was no summer camp and the children were starving.  Her mother received the letter and came to retrieve Hideko her and her friend weeks later. The girls and their mothers returned home to Hiroshima precisely the night before the atomic bomb incinerated 5 square miles of their city, damaging every building outside of that area as well.  While Hideko survived with minor injuries, her mother was not so fortunate.  It took Hideko several days wandering the flattened city aimlessly searching for her remaining family among the unrecognizable corpses until she was reunited with her father.  It took another month for her family to find and identify the vaporized remains of her mother in a collapsed building near the harbor, confirming the inevitable.

After Japan surrendered, bomb survivors in Japan were treated as outcasts, so their stories were not widely known and shared.  Due to their exposure to radiation, survivors like Hideko were assumed to be scarred and infertile, or more likely to have deformed children.  In a land of arranged marriages, Hideko had no hope.  At the age of 17, she attempted suicide by throwing herself in front of a speeding train.  However, the train stopped just short of where she landed on the tracks.  A teacher at the missionary school she attended convinced her to live and gave her hope to commit to a new beginning.

Hideko immigrated to the US for the opportunity to pursue a sociology degree at the College of Wooster in Ohio.  She married, bore healthy children, and then went on to the University of Chicago to become a psychotherapist and social worker in the radiology oncology department.  She tries not to be bitter, but instead to promote peace to prevent others from experiencing what she survived in 1945.  On August 6, 2007, exactly 62 years after the bomb fell on Hiroshima, Hideko’s granddaughter was born, replacing for her what was a black day filled with dark memories and grief with one of hope for new life and the future.

Hideko’s story is a timely reminder of what grave circumstances humans may face in life at even the tenderest age.  She is the perfect example of the ability to not only survive the unthinkable, but to eventually overcome severe hardship and thrive.  She succeeded in doing this by taking her vision off herself and instead focusing on improving the lives of others.  In these difficult times that seem to linger on and on, may we maintain our focus on serving others, even as we attempt to mitigate the negative impact the virus has had on us all.  

Hopefully Yours,
Jill Murphy
Owner/Physical Therapist
MotionWorks Physical Therapy