“The like to change or erase if only we

“The
Day I Thought I Would Die”

 

Our
lives are stitched with different stories and experiences. There are moments
that merely pass by while some leave a mark in our lives. Some become our
favorites, while others are moments we would like to change or erase if only we
could turn back time. However, the moments that I deem most significant are
those that taught me the essence of life and how good it feels to live in every
second. Typhoon Yolanda was my life-defining moment.

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Before
Yolanda came, reports and warnings flooded the news and social media but I
could not care any less. I was too preoccupied with matters which I thought
were more important such as chasing deadlines and cramming for exams. Our tiny
city, Ormoc, is used to having rains and typhoons anyway. On November 5th, we
were having a discussion when the high school supervisor stepped in the
classroom to announce that classes will be suspended. Some of my classmates
broke into nervous chatters but most of them cheered. I felt relieved because I
could take a break from all the work in school. I looked outside to check the
weather but it was actually fair. The sun was shining brightly and the sky was
cloudless and blue. I thought, “Would not it be a waste for classes to be
cancelled?” That thought was quickly dismissed because we were told to
prepare our things and go home. I bid my friends goodbye, not knowing that I
will not be seeing them for a long time. When I arrived home, I saw piles of
canned goods, packed noodles, about ten gallons of water and other basic
supplies that could sustain me and my family for at least a month or two. I
thought it was too much but I knew my mom too well – she is always prepared for
anything. Instead of commenting, I just kept my mouth shut and helped her
prepare.

The
days passed quickly and it was already November 8th. I woke up at dawn to the
harsh blowing of winds and the burning smell of candle wax. My mom was in front
of the altar, praying the rosary fervently. I joined her in prayer and
afterwards, we rushed to the living room where the rest of my family was staying.
We were watching the news when the power suddenly went out. It was then that I
felt that the terror was about to begin. The howling of the winds was so loud
and scary. I used up all the battery of my iPod to blast full-blown music into
my ears just to drown the frightening sound. Then, we started to have problems.
Water was dripping everywhere and it was starting to flood inside. We had to
carry and transfer things around so they would not get wet. My dad had to hold
down the door while my mom and sisters were attempting to get rid of the
floodwater. Every passing second seemed to drag longer. I peeked through the
windows and the scene before me looked like one of those end-of-the-world
movies. The thought of dying was lurking in the back of my mind but my faith
kept my hope alive. I prayed to God about all the things I still want to
achieve and if it may be my last day, I still thanked Him for such a beautiful
life.

The
storm ended at around 4 P.M. I remember heading out and feeling very happy to
see that our roof was still intact. That night, my family and I were huddled
together, sleeping in a wet mattress with rainwater dripping from the ceiling.
It was the first time I truly appreciated those nights that I get to sleep
comfortably. Days after, the sun shone brightly as if nothing terrible
happened. We cleaned up our house and met with our other relatives who flew all
the way from Tacloban. We shared each other’s experiences but theirs were much worse
than ours. My family and I were starting to recover from the devastation typhoon
Yolanda brought. However, news began to circulate about looting and inmates
having escaped prison. My parents decided that it was not safe anymore and so,
along many other people, we sought refuge in Cebu where I continued my studies
in the University of San Carlos-North Campus for a few months before coming
back to Ormoc, which was already recuperating from the calamity.

Time
to time, I still think of what had happened and how fortunate we were. Although
we faced challenges, I did not despise the day Yolanda came. In fact, it was
very meaningful for me. It led me to experience a lot of beautiful moments
which taught me to appreciate the simple things that make up most of life. I learned
to live without gadgets and discovered the joy of spending time with my family,
the fun of bathing under the rain and the wonder of watching fireflies at night.
I witnessed the beauty of love, support and concern in those times of need. I
learned to share my blessings, spread happiness and do the things I want to
achieve before time catches up with me. Most of all, whenever I face a new
challenge, I tend to worry less. I just do my best and trust in God because I
believe that He never gives me obstacles I cannot overcome. It may be weird but
I am very grateful for that day I thought I would die.