tsunami memorial day

29th december 2005

At 9.30am I arrived at the memorial stage and looked at names and photos of the dead that i recognised and suddenly it all came back. I hadnt expected to feel anything as in the last few weeks ive become detached from everything. When i saw the pictures i was overcome with overwhelming sadness. As the day went on I found myself looking at my watch and marking the minutes: when the wave hit, when i was rescued, when i was carried up the mountain for safety and what i was thinking at certain points in the day exactly a year ago.

After speeches and flower laying everyone gravitated towards the beach. We all looked a bit lost as we stared into the ocean wondering how it could look so calm and inviting. As we watched, several longtail baots appeared in the bay with flags. They were carrying new coconut trees to replace the ones lost last year. As the boats couldnt come right up to the sand, hundreds of us formed a chain to pass the trees up onto the beach. Later as i walked along the beach with a candle, I noticed that they had already been planted. We set off of lanterns into the sky, the same as in march but there were many more and they were much bigger. The whole sky was full of lights.

My main feeling of the day was guilt. After seeing so many grieving families, I just didn’t understand why i was alive and with only a few small scars. After feeling guilty I then felt guilty about feeling guilty and then just felt grateful that i was alive. After that I just wanted to put it all behind me and move on. Im lucky that I can do that. I left the island today. Finally after nearly 3 months of rain the sun came out and as i lfet on the ferry I saw the island as the paradise it was one year ago.

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