I’m not sure what to say … yesterday, I was trying to work out what I should write for a 10 year post.
On 29 September 2009, my daughter, Clea, drowned on Lalomanu Beach, Samoa in a tsunami along with about 200 other people. Her father, mother and brothers all survived. The last time I saw my daughter alive, she was holding my hand running from the water. I’m not sure whether I saw her in the water.
On 30 September 2009, we had to identify her body in a makeshift morgue in Apia, Samoa. That was the last time I saw my daughter.
There was a ceremony at the Taufua Fales on Lalomanu Beach in the early hours of 29 September 2019. I chose not to be there. Maybe I should have planned something for such a milestone but I didn’t. I took flowers to the cemetery as I do almost every Sunday. All days are the same.
I think of us as survivors not only of the tsunami but of life. I didn’t think I would survive this long. I didn’t know that life would simply continue whether Clea was here or not. In the early years, when I thought of 10 years ahead, I couldn’t imagine that I would make it and I didn’t want to make it without Clea. I don’t live in the fog of the early years or in a state of shock. I have learned to live with a broken heart; with part of me dead.
I still don’t fancy live a long life but I am better able to cope with the pain deep inside. Part of me died with Clea and there is a hole in my heart that will never be filled. We would be very different people if Clea had survived. We would lead a very different life.
A lot has happened over the past 10 years. Clea’s brothers are now 15 years old. Clea’s friends are all turning 17 and have their driver’s licences. They are all contemplating their futures.
We have travelled (probably not as happily) and our lives have continued for good and bad. My father has died and is buried next to his granddaughter. I hardly even noticed his passing.
We are trying to live as best we can. It has taken awhile but we do want life to be fulfilling.
Recently, a young woman at work lost her daughter suddenly. She is starting the journey which no one wants to be on. She said she is already tired of being the mother of a dead child. It is tiring. Grief is exhausting.
You become someone you do not want to be. You go from being the mother of a child full of life to the mother of a dead child. No one wants to be that person.
Unfortunately, that is who some of us are. We are people we do not want to be and we have no choice but to be those people. We manage as best we can.
Clea is my daughter and will always be my daughter. The depths of my pain are impossible to describe. I miss her like I have never missed anyone else.
That is all. 520 weeks, 10 years. It’s been a long 10 years without Clea and I presume there will be many years left without her.