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Tsunami Victim Saying Her Goodbye


Tissue warning to people like Miracles and Javelina.

I think many people on this site could relate when I say that we try to suppress bad memories so we don't have to go through the pain those memories cause us. Then something happens and all those painful memories come rushing back. This is one of those cases. Last week sometime, I read SnowQueen's "Unexpected Thing Are Always Welcome." Her story brought back a painful memory while I was in Sri Lanka.

A group of friends and I (including me, there were 6 of us) volunteered with the Red Cross to go to Sri Lanka to help with the Tsunami relief. I could tell you that the Keetha that went there is not the same Keetha that came back; I was totally changed. We had spent four months there (we actually took a semester off college to go there) and it was a huge culture shock. I experienced a lot of stuff there but to keep this story short I will concentrate on the part that affected me the most (and believe me when I say that there were a lot of things that affected me).

Right after the Tsunami hit there were a lot of people who were displaced. Many people didn't know where they were or who and how many people from their families died or survived; this was a couple of months after the Tsunami hit. As volunteers, our jobs were to help the people back on their feet by helping them build back their homes, schools, business, etc. And also, tracking down any surviving family members so that they can be brought together and in cases like SnowQueen's friend's brother, find a loving home where they could be brought back to a normal emotional and physical state. And many volunteers who had medical or first aid training helped the doctors take care of the sick and those were affected by the tsunami and survived; if there was a job to be done and you had the ability to do it or learn it quickly then you were expected to do it. Many times we were doing things that we wouldn't even think to do here. You can say that we gained a lot of employable skills in volunteering there that we might have never gained as quickly here.

The volunteers were told to stay together constantly and never venture off alone. The reason is because of the civil war that was going on and on top of that there was a lot of looting going on and our group leaders didn't want us getting lost, robbed or hurt. Each area we went to, it was setup like a camp and many times, if there weren't buildings to be slept in, we would sleep in tents (I think I got the most mosquito bites ever while I was in Sri Lanka).

I will leave out the names of villages and change the names of the people so I could give the privacy that they need and deserve. This event happened in the second month we were in Sri Lanka. My friends and I were given various jobs like building houses to cooking and feeding the village and anything the doctors wanted us to do. While at this particular village, I became attached to this little girl. She was about 10 years old and her name was Jennifer. When I met her, she had closed herself from the world. As a social worker, I had worked with kids like her so I took it as a personal mission to help this child get back on her feet. When I met Jennifer, nobody knew her name or anything about her. The only thing that the doctors knew was that she was weak from not eating for days (they found her in a cow shed between two dead cows) and water in her lungs. The doctors were giving her treatment for her ailments but couldn't get though to her. Like I mentioned above, I decided to take Jennifer on as a special case. Ever so slowly, I was able to coax her name out of her and she grew to trust me.

I found out her name was Jennifer and that her father was a church minister and her mother was a housewife who took care of the cows, chickens, and goats on their small farm. She had two older brothers and one younger sister about two years old. According to Jennifer, the family had two motorbikes; one belonging to her father and one belonging to her oldest brother. When the tsunami hit, her father and her two brothers left at the same time to go to church and college, respectively, on their bikes. Jennifer wasn't feeling well that day so she was at home playing with her little sister while her mother was feeding the chickens. Jennifer said that about a minute before the water hit, she heard a really loud roaring sound like thunder hitting the ground then in a blink of an eye water surrounded her and she lost track of her little sister. The next thing she knew she was in the cow shed and she started crying for a long time before people came to get her.

With the information provided by Jennifer, my friends and I started searching for her family (the Red Cross told us that there was a bleak chance of finding her family and the chances of finding them alive was even rarer and that they were probably put in a massive grave somewhere). My friends and I knew that but we told them that at least we check it out to see what happened so that we can bring some closure to Jennifer who was having night terrors about her not being able to save her family. Like Red Cross said, we never did find the bodies of Jennifer's family. According to people at the church where Jennifer's father was a minister, he never made it to the church. As for the motorbike, it was never found (probably, stolen by a common criminal) and the same thing with her brothers (two of my friends actually made the trip to the local college to find out but it was so difficult to find out who actually made it to class or not but from the records of students that survived the tsunami that were gathered, her brothers were not on the list and they were never found. Her mother and little sister were a lost cause (we actually search in and around the house in the last hopes of finding them because Jennifer was found in the cow shed but nothing).

Anyways, my friends and I return to base camp with heavy hearts at not being able to help Jennifer. When we returned, a church sister informed me that Jennifer got sick with a fever and was at the makeshift hospital. I rushed over to checkup on her and when I got there, she somehow knew that we didn't find her family and started crying and the doctors had to sedate her. After a few days, she was feeling better and started taking walks outside of the hospital and came to hang out with my friends and I.

One particular night, a group of displaced people and volunteers gathered together after dinner and starting talking, telling stories, and singing. Jennifer had come and she sat on my lap (I was sitting on the ground under a tree). About half an hour in, Jennifer's head started drooping and I thought she was going to fall asleep. So, I turned her so that her head could rest on my shoulders. Just then Jennifer started convulsing and it scared me really badly. I screamed at the doctors to help and we were able to bring her into the hospital for treatment. Since one of my friends was a trained nurse, she was able to go in with the doctors to help but it was too late. Apparently, Jennifer had a seizure because she had a hole in the heart and since she was already weak from the recent fever attack and the water in the lungs, her body couldn't take on the recent seizure. Apparently, Jennifer has had the hole in heart since she was little and without her parents or relatives to tell the doctors about it, they didn't know.

Anyways, we had a small funeral for Jennifer and we had her buried. At the funeral and afterwards, I had the feeling of being watched. At first, I thought that since I was surrounded my people working, I was getting that feeling but there was always people around and I didn't feel like that before then. I told my friends what was happening and they told me that it was probably my grief for Jennifer and how I couldn't help her fully was making me feel like that and that I should give myself a break because I really tried my best to help her. Mentally, I accepted what they were saying but my heart was still in pain because I set out to help a kid and I couldn't fully help her and that is something that will stick with me for a long time. As a social worker (and I think people who are in a position to help others would agree), more than the successes you have had, the failures are the ones that hit home the most and this one certainly did it for me even though mentally I knew I was dealing with some impossible tasks.

About a week of feeling like someone was watching me and a presence walking around with me, I had this dream with Jennifer standing beside my cot. She was surrounded by a group of people who I took to be her family and she was really happy. Jennifer bend down and put a hand on my heart and told me to be at peace with myself because I did more than anyone did in a long time and now she was extremely happy because she wasn't in pain anymore and she was surround by her family. In the dream, her family also thanked me for taking care of Jennifer when they couldn't and now they were a family again. After that, they just simply walked away and I woke with a start like someone dropped something on my stomach. You know how when something or someone touches you and then they let go and there is an imprint left behind for a few seconds? That is what I felt in the area where Jennifer placed her hand in my dream but after I woke up. The weird thing was all five of my friends had the same dream as I did at the same time as I did. They were all freaked out when I told them about the dream because they all realized what just happened.

Although, it still hurts to think about it, I have come to peace with myself that I can't save the world and that people like Jennifer will be okay wherever they are.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, geetha50, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Heshan (1 posts)
6 years ago (2018-12-06)
When your friends had the same dream did they also, see Jennifer coming up to them personally to tell her goodbyes or did they see Jennifer telling her goodbye to you from like a third person view?
PriyankaMenon (2 stories) (41 posts)
8 years ago (2016-07-20)
You did superb job you worked towards humanity. Hats off to you dear. But yes when we give our 100% to someone and still not able to save that person, it hurts a lot. I felt bad she lost, a family lost completely that way. But uniting with them again is good. This family thanked you and your friends I felt very good, it seems they were watching over her, they liked you even though you were complete stranger but still took care as your own child. That made them happy. May the whole family rest in peace.
Khili180 (3 stories) (78 posts)
10 years ago (2014-09-19)
Firstly let me say how awfully sweet it was of you geetha didi... To bunk a semester and live and work in, and experience such a bad time, for 4 months no less! It must have been emotionally and physically taxing. Hats off to you guys! Someday, aside from the paranormal, would love to hear the other things you experienced while there, and how they changed you. About the story, amazing as usual. You made the little girl very happy:) thanks for that! I think it's beautiful how all of you got that dream simultaneously. Her way of saying thank you and bye to you all:)
Morticia1 (6 stories) (162 posts)
11 years ago (2013-05-14)
geetha I have held out until I type this before needing the tissues, soon as I'm done I'm bawling.

Thankyou for sharing your story and a HUGE thank you for what you did for Jennifer. She and her family obviously came back to thank you too.

Im so glad there's people like you in this world 😊
Marine (6 stories) (42 posts)
11 years ago (2013-05-14)
Hi geetha50 - it's a sad but at the same time a wonderful story, I couldn't help but be moved by it. I kept thinking about Jennifer and what it would be like to lose everyone you love. I am happy though that she is once again reunited with her family.

Thank you for this wonderful story
SpookyCasper (8 posts)
11 years ago (2013-05-06)
Geetha you are the best of the best to help the people who had been affected by the tsunami... As for jennifer i'm really happy that she got reunited with her family I think coming in to your and your's friend's dream was her way of saying Thank You and Goodbye.

Thanks for sharing and god be with you

sasikaranyo (1 posts)
12 years ago (2012-12-21)
You are really wonderful having worked for the people, who were affected by Tsunami way back in 2004. And your story make me cry... Its hard to lost lovely ones...
Its a heart touching story. From the day I read this...
I am thinking about make this as shortfilm... For it I
Want your permission. I am trying to spread the feeling to all people. Will you give me permission... Pleasee
If it you can contact me:- Sasikaranyo [at]
Or sasikaran530v [at]
I hope you will give permission...
Thank you
Gayatrishiva (3 stories) (121 posts)
12 years ago (2012-09-15)
Hi Keetha this one made me cry 😭 😭 this story really touched my heart.
sds (14 stories) (1436 posts)
12 years ago (2012-08-03)
geetha50, you are really wonderful having worked for the upliftment of the people, who were affected by Tsunami way back in 2004. I had the opportunity to do some little work here in India, Chennai, when Tsunami devastated. As far as your story is concerned, it is really a nice story and a great narration. Well, Jennifer had her way to thank you for your great caring of her. You are really blessed.

Regards and respects to you,

curiousDevu (10 stories) (45 posts)
12 years ago (2012-08-03)
I was reading and having coffee, when you mentioned the incident of the tsunami hitting her house and her family not making it, the coffee refused to go down my throat, I cried for a ling time, 😭 😭
The tsunamis were terrible, in India it hit Chennai the worst, hopefully Jennifer was happy later 😊 [sniff]
Hunter_11 (16 posts)
12 years ago (2012-08-03)
At first! Let me tell you that the story. "Unexpected Thing Are Always Welcome."
I was reading that & I was crying at the same time. And I can't explain why?
And the same happened with this one.
(I am not a very emotional or crying person. So, why does this happen to me?) 😭 😭 ❤
lady-glow (16 stories) (3163 posts)
12 years ago (2012-08-02)
Wow! What a touching story.

Death has many faces, in Jennifer's case it was freedom and the chance to join her family again.

Thank you for sharing.
SnoWQueeN (5 stories) (100 posts)
12 years ago (2012-08-02)
This is so painful just watching someone die. I know how you felt about the child (damn! I can't stop thinking about the 2 year old getting drowned), spending times with her then suddenly couldn't believe she died.

Glad the family reunited and happy with no more pains.

stephyw2001 (guest)
12 years ago (2012-08-02)
Geetha, thank you for sharing this story. I'm really happy she is with her family. I'm so glad you all had the same dream too, how reassuring! Its very sad that the tsunami tore so many families apart.
ladykilljoy (1 posts)
12 years ago (2012-08-02)
Thank you so much for sharing this Geetha... And thankfully I had tissue with me... 😁
geetha50 (15 stories) (986 posts)
12 years ago (2012-08-02)
Thanks you ladies for the kind words. Yeah it was really hard. It has been a couple of years but thinking about what happened to Jennifer and people like her always brings tears to my eyes.
cosmogal926 (9 stories) (1223 posts)
12 years ago (2012-08-02)
geetha, my heart goes out to Jennifer, her family, and all the vicitims of the tsunami. I believe you and your friends did God's work out there. I know it might not seem like much, but you gave Jennifer what she needed during her final days. I can't even imagine how terrified she must have been being 10 years old and finding herself alone not knowing what happened to her family. She appreciated your loving and caring nature as well as her family. When they finally found each other you and your friends were blessed to know their gratitude. Amazing geetha, simply amazing. 😊 ❤
Fergie (40 stories) (1159 posts)
12 years ago (2012-08-02)
Wow! Geetha... That was amazing! You had a privilege, and an honor, afforded to few people. To be able to work with these poor refugees; to see the fruits of your labor, and to change lives. I take my hat off to you! I can imagine the heart-break and distress that you witnessed, but you were there to make a difference... And you did.
Thank you for your service to these unfortunate people: as repayment, you had a comforting dream... Payment in full? I would think so!
Thank you geetha, for sharing.
Miracles51031 (39 stories) (4999 posts) mod
12 years ago (2012-08-02)
geetha - thanks for the tissue warning. I might have to pass on this one. I still haven't had time to read your latest one yet and I really want too 😆. I'm so far behind I haven't even had time to read all the comments on my story yet 😆 or read any of the other new stories.

Seriously, though, thank you for the heads up. I sincerely appreciate that ❤

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