Letter from the late son given to his family ten years after his drowning
KANI, Gifu Prefecture – When the postman delivered a letter sent by registered mail to Hideo Ito at his home here in early August, he was asked if “the address is correct”.
A stunned Ito, 49, replied that it was and took delivery. It was a letter from his eldest son, Ryusei, who had been dead for 10 years.
The address was handwritten in Ryusei’s familiar handwriting style. Removal of the sticker covering the back of the letter for privacy reasons showed the child’s name in a space specifying the sender.
Ito wondered “why would a letter from Ryusei come in now?” It was natural to wonder, given that his eldest son died in the winter ten years ago in an accident when he was in the fifth grade of elementary school.
On that fateful day, Ryusei was playing in a nearby open space along a river with friends. When he entered the river to retrieve a finicky soccer ball, Ryusei, who couldn’t swim, found the water very cold.
He was swept away for 20 meters before being taken out of the river by a passer-by. Ryusei never regained consciousness.
A phone call from the man who rescued his son alerted Ito, who was home at the time, that Ryusei “was in critical condition”. The father rushed to the hospital praying that his son “will survive by any means”.
Ito saw Ryusei casually lying there. Cardiac massage continued in an ambulance and all life-saving measures were taken for Ryusei after arriving at the medical center.
Despite all these efforts, Ryusei never opened his eyes.
Ryusei had three younger brothers. Ito sometimes found the siblings sobbing as a result of the tragedy. On other occasions, they seemed to try to behave in a joyful way so that they no longer made their parents suffer with sadness.
“I have to pull myself together to provide for my family, ”Ito remembers, thinking back then.
He began to try to move past his memories of the accident while also encouraging himself to adjust to a life without Ryusei.
Even when asked how many members of his family were asked by people he first met, Ito replied that he had “three sons” and therefore would not have referred to Ryosei to spare them the sorrow to offer him their condolences and sympathy.
On top of all this, Ito was ashamed that he was unable to save his oldest son’s life as a parent. He has come to barely talk about Ryusei, even with other family members and relatives.
Ryusei’s friends stopped coming to pay homage to him 10 years after his death.
“I really appreciate them for visiting us for so many years, ”Ito said. “It was then that I first felt the grief of realizing that the traces of Ryusei’s life had faded. So I started to think that we shouldn’t forget about Ryusei.
The letter reached him around the time. Ito later learned that it was written in a school class as part of the Gifu Prefecture curriculum where students were asked to consider whether they were engaging in environmentally friendly efforts at the school. age 20 in 10 years.
But what is on the missive does not concern environmental issues. It simply reads, “What are my younger brothers doing?”
Further examination revealed that the phrase “how will my mother and father be in 10 years” had been erased with an eraser and the phrase asking for the plight of her siblings had been written over the deleted words.
Ryusei’s mother Hiroko, 46, explained what her first son apparently had to think about while working on the letter.
“Our second son had an intellectual disability in particular, and Ryusei often looked after him, ”Hiroko said with tears in his eyes. “For this reason, perhaps he was worried about the future of his younger brother.”
Ito reported on the letter on Twitter, drawing messages from parents of deceased children who “had a similar experience” and “were unable to speak about my loss in front of others.”
He was initially surprised by so many responses, but now looks at the phenomenon in a positive light.
“The tremendous grief of losing a child can never be healed, ”Ito said. “But hearing that many people struck by a similar tragedy remain strong, I can now feel some peace.”
Their second son has now grown up and started working full time while the third and fourth children have grown into a first year high school student and a fifth grade primary school student. As the third and fourth sons were too young to clearly remember their older brother at the time, they “rely on old videos on a smartphone to remember him.”
Looking at the letter, the siblings said it made them feel that their brother “has finally come home.”
“I never imagined that a letter would arrive 10 years after (Ryusei’s) death, ”Ito said.
The father said he felt Ryusei arranged when the message should arrive, as it happened in the middle of the season in which the souls of the deceased are traditionally expected to return home temporarily. .
“He (Ryusei) may have returned to coincide with the Bon festival, hoping to make his presence felt more by saying, “I’m here,” Ito said with a smile.
Inspired by the appearance of the letter, Ito now plans to talk more about Ryusei with his family and loved ones.