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Japanese sister mourns death of brother's Filipino caregiver

2018/02/08 23:34:02

Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) The death of a Filipino caregiver in the magnitude 6.0 earthquake that hit Hualien late Tuesday is an "eternal pain," said the sister of her employer, who mourned the caregiver at a local hospital Thursday.

Sumin Okubo (大久保淑珉), 63, who was born in Taiwan, said Melody Albano Castro had been taking care of her brother, who lived in the Yun Men Tsui Ti residential and commercial building in Hualien, along with her and and her 68-year-old husband Tadao Okubo (大久保忠雄).

The Okubos and the brother survived the collapse of the building in the earthquake, but the 28-year-old caregiver was not as fortunate.

When Mrs. Okubo heard that rescuers had retrieved Melody's body Thursday evening, she said she felt a spasm in her stomach that was so intense she had to see a doctor.

"We're warm here. She has been cold out there for three days," Mrs. Okubo said, thanking Melody for giving her family -- including her stroke-stricken husband and her disabled brother -- half a year of happiness and hoping to meet her again "in the next life."

The Okubos survived the March 11, 2011 Honshu Earthquake, when they lived in Tokyo. Five years ago, the couple decided to move to Taiwan to be near her brother and sister in Hualien, Shumin Okubo said. Her sister Lin Shu-jing (林淑靜) was living close by.

When Lin learned that her siblings were being treated in hospital, she rushed there to see them and broke down in tears, but Shumin's heart was still heavy because her brother's Filipino caregiver remained missing.

She said she was truly sorry for Melody's family. "You have not finished your tasks in life, you still have a husband and children to take care of ...."

"Without those few seconds in the earthquake, Melody would still be here with us," She said. "I want to say to you, you have gone to heaven just one step ahead of me. I will see you again."

(By Chen Chun-hua and S.C. Chang)