Anniversaries are days which are more important to other people. It is when they remember what is our daily existence. That is fine, I do not expect people to live my life and I actually would not wish anyone to live without their child.
But to me, today is as any other day. What an anniversary does though is make reality that little bit more vivid as each anniversary leaches out the smidgen of hope that I still cling to.
We change our hopes as our we grow into our lives. As children, we hope for fun at school or to win the next game of football. As teenagers, we hope that good-looking boy or girl will notice us or that our pimples will not last. As adults, we have hopes for our children. We all hope to live long lives. These are usually hopes that may come true.
Many people hope that there will be a ‘cure’ for death before their time and most people live as though they will not die. At the gym the other day, the yoga teacher used a song called something along the lines of live as though you are going to die. But, of course, we are all going to die and how else do we live.
I used to think of hope in that way as well. I’m sure I also believed that I would never die. But I have been on the very precipice of dying and I remember what it was like so I do know now that I will die; I most certainly will die. I have lost all fear of dying.
Once, I would hope for things that would possibly come true or probably come true. I would hope for good weekend; that I wouldn’t miss my flight; that I would find a nice man to marry; or that, I would have children. These are the normal parts of life that people hope for and often get.
But now I have hopes that are in vain; hopes that I know will not come true. I hope that family running from the beach was not my family. I hope that these last three years have not existed. I hope that I didn’t go on a holiday with three children and return with two alive. I hope that the little girl in the morgue was not my daughter. And deep down, I have this impossible tiny bit of hope that I will find my daughter again. Eventually, that small bit of hope will be taken from me as well and I will come to really understand the meaning of hope.
On 29 September 2009, a tsunami struck the south coast of Upolu, Samoa. It was caused by two earthquakes in the Tongan Trench. There was no warning. There was no preparation. It was early in the morning, before 7am. Clea Soledad Salavert Wykes was skipping along the beach with her parents and brothers when her father yelled at her to run. She ran to her mother and held her hand as they ran towards the escarpment. The mass of water hit them before they reached the escarpment and she lost her mother’s hand.
My only hope is that she wasn’t scared.
I have wishes too. I wish for my daughter. I have wished for my daughter every day for three years.
I hope for Clea. I hope this is not our lives.