This elderly man lost his wife in the tsunami. Against all odds, he's training in scuba diving to bring her home.
57-year-old Yasuo Takamatsu is one of the most loving and persevering husbands ever. When his wife was lost in the tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, he decided that he would do whatever it took to find her—even if it meant becoming an expert scuba diver.
On March 11, 2011—the day a devastating tsunami hit Onagawa and claimed the lives of nearly 1,000 of the small town’s 11,000 people—Yasuo was not with his wife. An employee at the bank near their home, Yuko Takamatsu was at work when news of the impending crisis became known. Although she and her fellow employees moved to the roof, it wasn’t enough to survive the wave.
Just before her death, even as she must have been horrified by what was about to happen, Yuko still thought about her husband first, sending him an email from her phone, simply asking, “Are you all right?” Unfortunately for Yasuo, that was perhaps the last thing he would hear from her.
Authorities searched the area several times, but to no avail—four people that were on the roof with Yuko have been confirmed dead, while she remains amongst the eight declared “missing.”
Yet, these reports did not deter or discourage Yasuo, who started taking scuba diving lessons from a local dive shop in hopes of searching for his wife. This training was sadly not enough because the kind of diving he wanted to do requires higher-level clearance.
Still not willing to give up, however, Yasuo studied for an incredibly rigorous certification exam. His instructor kept asking him why he didn’t just wait until the summer when the water is warmer, but Yasuo insisted, “I want to start looking for Yuko as soon as I can, tomorrow even.”
Finally, after studying for an hour every day after work, Yasuo earned his license for deep diving and debris clearance this February.
Yasuo still has Yuko’s last message. He says that every time he reads it, he thinks, "I bet you want to come home. It's so sad that you haven't yet, that you're still on the bottom of the cold ocean." He still has a lot of training to go through before he can start his search, but Yasuo isn’t interested in giving up.
"I'll keep diving as many times as it takes. I'll get better, a little at a time," he says—proving that true love still exists in our world.
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