What a beautiful tribute to a family lost in an unthinkable tragedy. While my heart was breaking reading this, I was eager to keep turning the pages. Sonali Deraniyagala lost her two young boys Vik and Malli, her husband Steve and both of her parents in an instant during the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka in 2004. I have vivid memories of watching the news and seeing this tragedy unfolding before my eyes. I was glued to the television in disbelief watching the ocean rush into the land like I had never seen before. I remember a clip on the news of a man standing in the sand alone just watching this wave coming to overtake him. That’s an image I will never forget. Reading Sonali’s story and especially hearing of the loss of her two young boys was gut wrenching. I myself am a mommy of two young boys and I can’t even imagine the anguish she endured. Her talk of killing herself is exactly where my mind goes at the thought of losing my children. Another thing that really touched my heart was hearing how Sonali felt bad about burdening people with her story. After all she had been through, she was concerned about shielding people from her tragic story. Crazy! Her writing was very descriptive and poetic. I felt her pain and empathized with her anger and terror. Here are a few passages I highlighted while reading:
“I was held for a few moments in the coherence and safety of the life we had, when so much seemed predictable, when continuity was assumed. There would be more bills for Steve to sort out, more sunsets for me to get distracted by while he did just that. And as the wind gusted against those windows, I saw how in an instant, I lost my shelter. ”
“I was doomed all along, I am marked, there must be something very wrong about me. Why else did we have to be right there when the wave hit? Why else have I become this shocking story, this wild statistical outlier? Or I speculated that I must have been a mass murderer in a previous life, I was paying for that now. And even as I have discounted such possibilities over time, shame remains huge in me.”
“I am in the unthinkable situation that people cannot bear to contemplate.”
“Occasionally an insensitive relative might walk away if I mention my anguish, and I reel from the humiliation of my pain being outlandish, not palatable to others.”
“Such a puny life. Starved of their loveliness, I feel shrunken. Diminished and faded, without their sustenance, their beauty, their smiles.”
I bought this eBook on Amazon when it was on sale for $2.99. I’m not sure if it will still be on sale when you purchase it, but here is the link:

Click Here To Purchase On Amazon

One of The New York Times’s 10 Best Books of the Year, a Christian Science Monitor Best Nonfiction Book, a Newsday Top 10 Books pick, a People magazine Top 10 pick, a Good Reads Best Book of the Year, and a Kirkus Best Nonfiction Book

A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist 

In 2004, at a beach resort on the coast of Sri Lanka, Sonali Deraniyagala and her family—parents, husband, sons—were swept away by a tsunami. Only Sonali survived to tell their tale. This is her account of the nearly incomprehensible event and its aftermath.