Wave

In less time than it takes to drink your morning cup of coffee, it was over.

One minute, she was standing in the doorway of her hotel room chatting with her friend and the next she, her friend, her husband and children were running from they-weren’t-sure-what, so panicked that they she didn’t even stop to warn her parents in the hotel room right next door.

And a very few minutes after that, her family was gone. Forever.

She is Sonali Deraniyagala. And the beast that took her family was the December 26, 2004 tsunami that wiped out the Sri Lankan beach where they were vacationing.

By page 9, Sonali’s family is gone. The remaining 236 pages are the aftermath–from her rescue later that day through eight years of mourning and struggling to come to terms with unimaginable loss.

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala.

It’s a quick read, but not ‘light, summer fare; by any stretch of the imagination.

It’s brave and honest and harrowing and heartbreaking.

And if it doesn’t have you holding your loved ones more tightly, listening to their words more closely, appreciating their presence more deeply then I don’t know what will.

wave

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4 Responses to Wave

  1. lorien says:

    Maxine, thanks for sharing this. I’ve looked back on the tsunami with different eyes since having children. I even watched a documentary about the 2004 tsunami and was horrified listening to some of the stories, including a British mother’s account of how her four year old daughter was wrenched from her arms…imagine not having the strength to hold on to your child. I always wondered how the survivors coped without their familes after such an event. Glad to know that this woman was brave enough to tell her tale.

  2. maxinespence says:

    It’s heart-wrenching, isn’t it? Unimaginably heart-wrenching.

    • MJ says:

      I heard Sonali interviewed on CBC this past winter and was, of course, moved to tears by her story. Who wouldn’t be? I think she said it took her 4 years to be able to return to their home in the UK. Thanks for this post.

  3. maxinespence says:

    And her brother sold her parents’ home so she didn’t even have that ‘home’ to retreat to. The resilience of the human spirit is amazing to me.

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