Memoir about coming back from extreme loss

This book starts out with an unimaginable happening. The year is 2004, the day is Dec. 26.

Wave: a Memoir

By Sonali Deraniyagala

$27 McLelland & Stewart Publishing.

This book starts out with an unimaginable happening.

The year is 2004, the day is Dec. 26.

The family of Sonali Deraniyagala, her husband, her two young boys, eight and five respectively, along with Sonali’s parents are enjoying a Christmas holiday in Yala, Sri Lanka.

The boys love to visit with their grandparents, and Yala, is a National Park, full of wheeling birds, and adventures in nature and the sea.

Alas, the holiday is coming to an end. It is time to go back to London and the normal days of work and school.

They are almost ready to leave when Sonali’s friend Orlantha notices the sea. The foamy waves seem to be coming closer than they have ever come before.

They call to the others to come and see, but as Steve, the boys’ father, joins them at the window, the waves change.

Instantly, the adults know that the sea is too close and it’s coming closer.

They grab the boys hands and they run, as hard as they can run.

The barefoot boys run, too.

No one has thought to warn the grandparents.

Somewhere, way out in the ocean, perhaps by Indonesia, tectonic plates have rubbed together to cause a tsunami, and now it pursues them.

How can it be that no one escapes except Sonali?

The little boys Vikram and Malli, the father, Steve, even the friend Orlantha, are they all gone?

What of the parents?

Sonali is picked up by rescuers and taken to hospital.

She is cut and bruised but she wants no help. She waits for word, survivors are being brought in, she must be ready.

Time passes and those who arrive at the hospital are not hers.

Now begins the long journey to recovery, if possible, and remembering, if she can bear to remember.

What are the options for the survivor?

Finally you know they will not be found.

Drinking doesn’t help, suicide looks promising.

This is a true story written after eight years of healing. She records each step of the way.

She visits her childhood home, now barren and grim. She returns to the hotel at Yala and finds that the waves were 30 feet high and travelling at 25 mph.

The sea went inland for two miles. Facts do not help. She cannot come to terms with her own survival.

There are many stories written about the death of a partner or a child. This story of someone losing everyone is harrowing.

Her pain is unimaginable.

Sonali’s spirit begins to return to her when she can finally relive in her mind the wonder of her children, and the magic of their lives together. The boys were bookish and full of information about the Earth. They loved the whales and the eagles, and Harry Potter books.

They teased Sonali because there were “three boys in the family but only one girl.”

She celebrates their lives and that of her husband and she’s finally home free.

Peggy Freeman is a local freelance book reviewer.

Just Posted

Businessman and volunteer named 2019 Citizen of the Year

John Donald’s parents and sister were each honoured previously

School leader named Red Deer Young Citizen of the Year

Leading by example at Hunting Hills High School

Suspects shot at pursuing police during crime spree

No police officers were injured in May 17 shooting

Mental health survey looks at children and youth in Red Deer

Parent and guardians experiences accessing services for children

Respect Day in Red Deer

Sexual Violence Awareness Month in Red Deer

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

College Beat: Convocation celebrates success and future possibilities

On June 7, at our Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, we… Continue reading

Veer: Public safety is council’s top priority

The number one question that City Council continues to hear from our… Continue reading

Padres knock off Blue Jays 6-3

Padres 6, Blue Jays 3 TORONTO — Hunter Renfroe hit a tiebreaking… Continue reading

Scholarship named in honour of young Lacombe crash victim

Scholarship given to committed Grade 12 teen mentors in the community

O Canada: Hockey hotbed now produces tennis players, too

ROME — It’s typically Canadian that Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Bianca… Continue reading

Proctor back chasing running records after cross-Canada speed attempt

CALGARY — Dave Proctors’ attempted speed record across Canada last summer was… Continue reading

Big names headed to New Mexico to film ‘The Comeback Trail’

SANTA FE, N.M. — Oscar winners Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones… Continue reading

Most Read