Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Slice of Life Tuesday: January 12th

Eleven years ago today, on Tuesday, January 12th, 2010, I went home after a long day at school. Before I left my classroom, I wrote on the board, "January 13th, 2010."

As I entered through the gates of my yard, at 4:53 PM, the earth shook. I held on to my daughter, saying again and again, "It's OK. It's OK." 

It wasn't OK. Our city was devastated by the earthquake. But we were OK. Our whole family was unhurt. As the days passed, and we learned the extent of the damage, and the number of people who died (we'll never know how many; I wrote about that here), and we heard the stories of what others had gone through, our grief grew and grew. 

Today, eleven years later, I reflect once again that January 12th will never be just another day. It will always require quiet, mourning, feeling the pain again. 

The next time I walked into my classroom to get it ready to teach again, it was six months later. The date I had written, January 13th, was still on the board. (I wrote about this back then, here.) In between, I left the country with my children. In between, I struggled with what had happened. In between, I recognized that the lives of so many had been changed forever. So many had suffered infinitely more than I had. So many had lost everything. 

This is a slice of life, of my life, and of the life of Haiti. For us who were there, and for many who weren't, it's a slice we will never, ever forget.

(You can read in my archives the posts I wrote in January 2010 and in the months after, if you want to know more about how my family experienced those days.)


Chris & Dave said...

I can only imagine. I just wish our country could have done more for you. The devastation of that earthquake saddens me. I visited your beautiful country three years ago and I was shocked that there was still evidence of the destruction around. Sending love and thoughts your way.

Amy Ellerman said...

That image, of the date on the board six months later, is haunting. It reminds me of how it felt to pack up my classroom at the end of May after having left it since March. I can imagine how the sight of January 12 must hit you every time you see or write it. I'm so glad that you and your daughter were not hurt. Thank you for sharing today.