I am sharing with all of you a post from a dear friend who was in the Tsunami of 2004. Below are her words. I have not edited them at all because this is from her heart and English is not her first language. Read this and remember how precious life is. I am also including photos she has from that time. The cover photo breaks my heart…but this is what happened and she is very blessed to be alive. As all of you know my daughter was murdered. The bravery and courage in this story will give you chills. This is why we must live each day as if it is our last. We must give out love to others, not hate. Not one person on this planet is different from another. We all love and care for our families the same way whether we are rich or poor, the color of our skin is not important. We all bleed the same color. Be kind, be thankful and be aware that you might not live to see another day when you least expect it. This is one woman’s story. Her son is an up and coming artist and this song is appropriate for the rest of this blog https://youtu.be/LtURTzkiHP4 May God Bless all of us. We can never know what the next day will bring.
I’m a travel agent and I’ve never been a great believer… I adored luxury… a lovely house, a great car, parties, travelling first class… I wore a mask and felt completely empty!
Everything started on 26th December 2004, when my son, partner and I were in the middle of the sea in a small boat in Sri Lanka when the tsunami was about to swallow us whole…
We were unable to reach shore due to all the hundreds of thousands of vortices that were opening up around us and getting bigger and bigger by the minute. They were swallowing up everything in their path including small fishing boats and, as I stood there wide-eyed and watching everything fall apart around me, I saw a huge oil tanker being taken down within minutes. I was devastated, my whole body shook, and I felt the heat of my urine running down my thighs. I felt death and gloom approaching. Fear took a hold of me and froze me to the spot. I felt unable to move or speak.
On that little boat where hope no longer existed, with the worse pain a mother can ever suffer, I asked my son Lorenzo to throw himself overboard and try to swim ashore – he was only 10 at the time but he refused and said “No mum. I’m not going to leave you. You can’t swim very well and if we have to die I’d rather be with you.”
I didn’t know of any way out… I was dead… and I could feel the chilly hands of death inching forever closer, way too close. I wanted to save my son. I would have given my life for him but he stubbornly refused to throw himself overboard. Thus we waited to be swallowed up by the immense and dark sea, as dark as night. My partner who was with me at the time was in the same state of fear as me.
We stayed on that boat all day – alone – with no food, water or fuel or… very little. That night, totally worn out and with the little fuel we had, we decided to try and attempt to find a way back to shore.
The sea was full of all sorts of debris: fridges, mattresses, lorries.
A sea of lifeless children floated over the top of the water. We finally touched land but it wasn’t over yet. More waves were coming and we decided to escape to the mountains. Our only route of escape at the time. Escaping without shoes, or having drunk anything all day.
I stole shoes for my family from the corpses we found on route… may God forgive me.
But we still couldn’t walk… the ground was covered…. corpses, glass everywhere…
Human parts were scattered everywhere and lots and lots of small dead bodies. I swear to you, that day I witnessed hell.
Having reached the bottom of the mountain, we found hundreds of people waiting at its base. The mountain was full of thorns, impossible to climb… but we had to do it. The wave was behind us and was about to reach us so we had no choice. Everyone was so scared that they were jostling each other… nightmarish screams from heartbroken mothers who were carrying their children’s lifeless bodies begging for a miracle… it was HELL.
I needed to do something!
My job has led me to be a natural born organiser, and I therefore started shouting at the top of my lungs and organised all the children in a row. Then older women and men and finally women then men. I had divided my own family apart! My son Lorenzo was up front with the other kids, then me and finally my husband last of all.
I wanted to die… I kept asking myself how could I be the one to make all the decisions dear Lord? That was the first time I spoke to Jesus.
Fortunately, at the top of the mountain was a fisherman who launched his nets down so that we could climb. Having reached the top I asked my husband to bring up with him some wet rags… they were needed to wrap up bloody feet torn, cut by all the debris and glass strewn on the ground. Once I got to the top I started bandaging everyone’s feet.
The night was freezing, cold.
Women still held their dead children in their arms
And their screams tore the dark night apart
And the cold, hunger and thirst were making us ill
Hundreds of thousands of people were trying to sleep on humid and cold ground.
A horrific scene.
The fisherman that had thrown us the net had a small wooden cabin and a drinking well.
So I ask the fisherman to boil us some water which I shared with each and everyone present.
Then I noticed that the fisherman had some wooden boards leaning against the cabin and I put all the men to work.
I ask them all to lay the boards down on the ground.
We spend the night sleeping next to each other trying to keep our bodies warm.
It was freezing cold. I was tired and exhausted.
We placed Lorenzo between the two of us to keep him warm.
He asks us to give thanks to Jesus for saving us and to our disbelief we begin to pray the Our Father .
But something happens just as soon as we finished the prayer.
Leaning against the fisherman’s cabin, I see an old man sitting all on his own.
A gaunt face, worn by misery and poverty. He had no teeth and wore and old jacket, dirty and torn.
He beckons me over. I wasn’t sure I understood but yes, he was definitely asking me to go over.
I wasn’t sure what he wanted, but he just kept staring at me and asking me to go over.
I get up to walk towards him and in order to reach him I had to climb over those who were trying to sleep….
I reach him and he shows me that I need to kneel.
I kneel down and
With his rough aged hands, he reaches into his jacket pocket
And offers me a sweet pointing that I should give it to my son!
My heart fills with immense happiness, joy and wondrous peace despite all the hell surrounding me.
I finally understood! The man was Jesus.
The next day we started walking towards Colombo – 200 kilometres away approx.
We walked and walked. Every now and then someone would stop to give us a lift: on donkeys… horses… lorries full of people, then we went back to Italy a few days later.
Upon my return my personal drama starts
I went back to work to my travel agency
When clients walked in asking for 5 star accommodation and Business Class travel, I felt sick and out of place. This was not my place… and I kept asking myself what am I doing here???
I know… I have seen!
A period of darkness began for me
I didn’t believe…
My parents would tell me to go to a psychologist
But I never went
Then one day Daniela, my sister, who was a believer said to me “Why don’t you go to the Divino Amore” a sanctuary here in Rome.
I had never been to church before then bar at Christmas and Easter time… I decided to go. I desperately felt the need to find that peace, love and happiness I had felt approaching the old man when in hell.
I go to take confession.
And burst into tears right there and then whilst confessing in front of the cross.
And at the top of my voice I scream at the priest and ask him “Why? Why? Why did God save me and my family? Why didn’t he take me… he could have saved all those children!!! Why???”
There was silence.
Then the priest answered
“My dear. God has a plan for you and maybe one day you will have to tell lots of people…”
After that meeting I felt deep down in my heart that it really was Him who had created
me and who had shed tears for me, because no one could have talked to me so deep down in my heart.
After a few days of praying, I felt a great weight lifting from me and I started to feel the presence of God! I felt the greatest and most unimaginable peace.
Later in 2011 my trip to Medjugorje and that’s where my faith is strengthened again and again …
And there is so much more… but we would need many more days to go over it all.
This is a true story of bravery that can only come from the soul. This is one woman’s story. I am not promoting anything about religion, just sharing her words…it is up to everyone to decide what it is they believe in. As for me I believe in the Universe. That is my religion. We are all one with this Universe.
3 thoughts on “The Tsunami of 2004: One Woman’s Story”
WOW!! What a story! Goosebumped all over.. Pictures make it all too real! Sending your friend all the best wishes!
I hope she shares more about what happened because she really was a brave and courageous person, who did what she had to survive while helping others. A true hero!
Thank you all dear brother and sister to have took your time and read my story! Thanks to those who took care of me even when I was in the wrong. Thanks to those who let me be who I am, without stop me from being myself. Thanks to all those who in good times and bad have dedicated their time to me. Not all evil comes to harm, and not everything that happens in evil is negative. Thanks because I learned to distinguish, to choose and evaluate. Thanks because I learned to understand how important it is to know how to choose who to bring. Thanks because while not equal to many other than many are still a person who knows what it is to live better, to what risk and what’s not worth talking about.