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Remembering Ondoy

September 26, 2011
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It’s been two years since that day I spoke these words to our maid over the phone: “Lock the door. Close the windows. Forget the things. Save yourself.” I was at my mother’s house, The Painter was in Cebu. The water came all the way up to the roof and nothing was saved. This was what I posted in my old blog, 2 days after Ondoy.

 

After The Rain Sep 30, ’09 2:04 AM

And yes, I decide to have a Nelson Twins song as the title for this entry.

I’m safe. The baby is safe. My husband was out of town. My maid was taken in by neighbors with a second floor.

We lost everything we deemed important but next to our safety, they don’t seem that important anymore.

Loads of messages from friends and family. Touching and truly, deeply appreciated. Those few kind words give me such strength.

I go weak at the knees when I look at what the flood has done to our home. I feel most for the carefully collected pictures whose colors are now running in dirty, stinking water. I spent hours looking at each picture one last time, remembering the happy times each picture was taken before I threw it in the garbage bag.

With gloved hands I took out each and every book from my library and carefully put them in a box so that we could try and dry them out. All my bibles with the handwritten notes on the margins. Harry Potter. Bartimaeus. Anne of Green Gables. Godfather. Neverwhere. Coraline. The Wolves In The Walls. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Griffin and Sabine.

I went on to my husband’s treasured art books. Each artbook represented my husband’s blood and sweat when, as a struggling young artist, he would suffer hunger and fatigue just to save every cent he made to buy oh-so-expensive books that helped shape him to be the painter he is today. Most of them disintegrated in my hands.

And then there were the children’s books. My baby in my tummy never got to hold them. Dr. Seuss in English and Mandarin. Little Prince in 4 languages. Eric Carle. Ouch.

My iMac. It was in a pathetic little heap covered in mud.

At the end of the day, they’re just things. My husband, my baby, myself. We’re flesh and blood. Our families are here. Our friends are here. We are alive. That is more than enough thanks to the heavens above.

It’s a fresh start! It’s a new day. It’s as if God cleaned our house of unnecessary things and left us with the basics to start a new life. Life is very very good.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 26, 2011 11:19 am

    My heart hurts from reading this. It was a really good thing your husband went to Cebu so you and B could decide to stay with your mom. This was a huge miracle.

    • Eliza permalink
      September 28, 2011 12:27 am

      Basti wasn’t even “Basti”, haha! He was B as in bean-looking thing in my uterus. Can you imagine if I was there? It took 5 days to get in. I shudder at the thought of what could’ve happened.

  2. September 26, 2011 12:19 pm

    Aray ko! šŸ˜¦

    But – you’re right, it was a fresh start and look at where you all are now! Things happen for a reason.
    Hugs!

    • Eliza permalink
      September 28, 2011 12:29 am

      Yes I agree! Ondoy = trauma of losing books = fear of buying books = liking eBooks = reason to buy iPad. TADAH!!

  3. September 26, 2011 6:02 pm

    Thanks for reposting this, Elai. What an amazing paradox of God’s saving grace. I cannot imagine what it felt like for you during the time, but I admire you for how you saw things with eyes of faith: new beginnings, fresh start.

    We were pregnant pala at the same time! šŸ™‚

    • Eliza permalink
      September 28, 2011 12:31 am

      We really felt saved. Even if we count our losses, they were nothing to what others endured and we were extremely blessed.

      And yes! We were pregnant!!! šŸ˜€

  4. September 26, 2011 6:10 pm

    oh my! I remember you telling me about it, but reading it in words like that…..things happen for a reason, and buti nalang you guys were not there!

    • Eliza permalink
      September 28, 2011 12:34 am

      That is still part of my prayers to this day!

  5. September 30, 2011 4:39 pm

    Wow, Elai, I felt your pain and your relief. I cannot even begin to imagine how you felt.

    • Eliza permalink
      October 1, 2011 9:53 pm

      It seems so unreal now! My heart still stops when I hear rain on a roof.

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