Walking in the dark, and thinking of one more step than there is. Your foot falls down through the air, and there is a sickly moment of so much darkness. Ending up underneath some sheet… Never to wake up.
Are you ready… Are you ready to die at this moment? There’s only 2 valid answers, and you can only choose one. Is it, “Yes or No?” Maybe, is not an option.
Morbid you might say, crazy, even sick. I’m young, I’m healthy, so much going on in my life, and still a lot I dream to have. Why should I think of death, are you out of your mind, sicko? I thought so too… Exactly. These thoughts, been rolling on my mind since last Saturday, after seeing the destruction the super typhoon Haiyan, left in the central part of the Philippines, the Visayas. Being in Manila, in Luzon, I am among those considered lucky, so greatly blessed, being just slightly passed by, the typhoon. Haiyan was a cyclone, said to be the strongest typhoon ever landed on earth by the International Weather Bureau, considered Category 4 when it made a landfall in Tacloban City, Leyte, and to its neighboring cities, like Cebu, Samar, Ormoc, Antique and Palawan, and was just Category 1, in Manila where I was, that Friday night. It rained heavily with strong winds, but we’re so used to having bad weather, so I was just expecting floods, which is sadly becoming the “new” normal to us here, since last year. But I was wrong… There ain’t any floods in Metro Manila when I woke up Saturday morning. I thought, wow, great! Then dumbfounded when I saw what my Dad was watching on tv, seeing the destruction Haiyan brought to Tacloban City, which was badly hit, they were washed out, literally. All houses were gone, as if the island of Leyte was eaten by the sea. Too much debris all over them, and too many dead bodies under rubles and some scattered on the streets covered by newspaper or blanket. At first I thought this can’t be true, it felt like I was just watching another “apocalyptic” movie, like 2012, World War Z, comedy flick This Is The End, or the tv series, Walking Dead. It can’t be true… But sadly, it is. It was very real. They were hit by the storm surge, locals described it as like a tsunami, 5-10ft. wave from the sea enveloping the island by a fast rising sea water caused by the storm. Difference from tsunami is, there’s no earthquake that caused the water to rise up to the shore, but a surge caused by the super strong wind. In 5-10 minutes of the storm surge, everything was washed out. Lives, and dreams. Day in, and day out since then, all forms of media, local and international, centered to the disaster, relief operations, the plight of the survivors, the damages, and death… The survivors begging for help, for water, for food. Too much suffering, helplessness, hopelessness. Miserable. Logistics, power outage, slow government action, all add up to the survivors’ misery. I won’t dwell on that much, this is not the time for pointing the finger of blame to anyone. The survivors need help. We are all grateful, the world is heeding our call for help, and assured us of international relief and recovery funds. The relief operation though slow and had just begun, is enough hope. I’m sure survivors will be given the utmost care they need. Now going back to my previous question, are you ready to die? Did you answer, yes or no?
Two nights ago, a friend from UK asked me, how I’m dealing with this disaster happening to my country. He said, he feels like I’m so strong still can crack a joke or two after too much bad news happening around me. Then he asked again, am I alright? Made me think before I replied. Am I really alright? Honestly, NO. I’m not alright. Very sad actually, who wouldn’t be. This is a disaster of a great magnitude and it happened to your own country, to your own fellow Filipinos. They are suffering greatly. But we all cope to disasters in our lives in different ways. Yes, giving certain amount to the relief operation is one, participating in the relief operation is a great one too, helping spread information thru tweets is another, asking your friends and relatives all over the world for donation is great too. And writing a post in your WordPress account, like this may help to the healing process. My friend’s question would not stop banging my head with sooooo many thoughts and scenarios. I finally replied and told him what I really feel about all these sad circumstances around me.
I have crazy thoughts, if you’ve known me personally, or at least read some of my writings, haha you know me. My imagination is kinda weird most of the time. And I’ve thought a lot lately…. Here comes the “what ifs.” What if, the super typhoon Haiyan, landed in Metro Manila, instead of Leyte? What if, I was directly hit by the storm surge? That’s a weird thought, because you might say this is a metropolitan city, not a shoreline or something like that, but you must remember that we are near Manila Bay, Roxas Blvd. where the US Embassy is also located. It is actually named, Luneta near break-water. It’s remote that we’ll have storm surge, but NOT impossible. How will it be for me? So in short, my mind played around all the aspects of how I’ll greatly suffer being a victim of a super typhoon, and or a survivor of such great extent of disaster. The 7-10 minutes struggle, holding on to dear life, then letting go to complete darkness… To death?
Anything can happen, to anyone. No one can escape death. If it’s our time to go, we go. Bye earth! Simply like that. The question is, am I ready? Or anyone, can anyone say that he’s ready to die? To leave everything behind. Then it struck me. Let me live! PLEASE! I still have a lot to do on earth, I still want to be fully alive and happy, I still haven’t met Mr. Prince Charming hahaha!
We often neglect what’s important in our lives, we tend to take for granted the simple basic things that we need, because we are blinded with the huge material possessions we acquired and still can acquire. In this often chaotic world, what we do is get, get, get… And less to never what we can, give, give, give. I remember the survivors of Tacloban City’s reply when asked what they need now? And the answer is constant: Food, Water, Medicine, Shelter and to look for missing Loved Ones. There was never a survivor who said, I worry now about my job, my promotion, my money in the bank, my stocks, payment of my car, my house, etc. etc. Nobody cares for that when you all need is to survive. We made our lives so complicated having so many wants and needs, but in reality all we need is family, food, water and shelter to survive.
Thinking about all these things I now take everything lightly…. In my nephew in Canada’s words, “Juz chill, be cool.” Haha! In my own words as I speak a lot to myself, “Let it be.” Often, we tend to be sad, or hurt because we hang on to things or people in our lives who wouldn’t want to stay. It is hurtful, hateful, being left out, being unwanted, deceived, replaced, and other negative feelings. When all we can do is let go. Why should you live in darkness, in depression or in hate because of something beyond your control? Life is short, don’t hurt yourself more. Be a great friend to YOURSELF.
It’s not death that we should fear… But regret. We only have one life, it can be taken from us abruptly. May it be by natural or man-made act, but nothing, not even a super typhoon like Haiyan/Yolanda can wash away the happy memories we spent with our loved ones. It’s within us, deep within our spirits.
You might be wondering, why for the first time, I attached a photo to my post. This is from an Instagram account of my dear friend Benjamin Hogue from Ohio. Besides the obvious fact that this guy, Mr. Hogue is sweet and cute, hahaha it’s not really the reason. This is the reason: If I’ll ask you what symbol or a sign that comforts you when you’re having difficulties in your life, or just something you need to cheer up, what would it be? For me, it is the sunbeams. I was soooooooo sad because of this disaster, killing my Kababayans (Filipinos) and damaging their land, their home, I was struggling to find something that will truly cheer me up, then while reading tweets last Wednesday I suddenly came across this picture. I immediately smiled and felt sooooo good. I’m not a Pagan, though not religious, I believe in one God. I always feel that God’s embrace is the Sun. I feel his love in the warmth of sunbeams. Sometimes we pray, attend mass celebrations, recite the rosary, etc. but let’s face it, God can’t talk to us one on one, but through our souls, through our hearts. To me, God speaks and answers thru the sunbeams. This picture comforted my heart, when I need it most. If that’s not love then what? Because I know God is love.
So…. Is anyone ready to die now? Nah. I don’t think so. As long as the sun is shining we’ll all have tremendous chances to make our lives better. A new day, to correct mistakes. A new reason to go out and try one more time.
***Acknowledgement to Mr. Benjamin Hogue for this picture. You may follow him @ http://www.twitter.com/BenjaminHogue and for all his amazing shots, @ http://www.instagram.com/dj_cracka_jaxxx69