Today was such a troubled day.
Typhoon Yolanda, international name Haiyan, hit my country around Thursday to Friday. For the most part, Yolanda passed over the provinces, but was strong enough and large enough that we in Metro Manila experienced the edges of the storm late on Friday night. We’re safe, largely unaffected. I have yet to hear of any relatives who may have suffered in any way.
By Saturday when the storm had passed, I was already out of the building to continue with my daily life. It was the same for Sunday and Monday. I did not so much as mourn or react, because I had not yet found any reason to.
Today was my first school day ever since the storm, and two of my classes dedicated half the class period to merely processing the event. A classmate of mine had cousins in Tacloban, and she still did not know whether they survived. Another classmate’s immersion mother had lost her mother and sister.
One of my teachers talked with us in detail about our school’s part in relief and rescue operations and how we could help out. But she also emphasized how large-scale of a tragedy this was, and how this was very different from every other disaster our nation had encountered in recorded history. We all want to believe that our nation and our countrymen will eventually move past this, heal, and rebuild their lives, in whatever order. But how do they even begin?
I cried around four times today, and I lugged around a dazed, heavy heart because I finally took a good, long look at what was going on. There is so much tragedy going around. And while there is so much kindness trying to reach out, there is also so much evil and corruption blocking the path.
It’s frustrating that I can’t just devote the rest of my week or my month to figuring out a way to truly, concretely help. My home, my life, my family are intact, but I feel like my spirit was shattered by that storm. I’m frozen helpless.
Supposedly inspiring or encouraging messages are so lost on me because unfortunately, words can’t feed people or heal their wounds. Words can’t rebuild wiped-out homes. Words can’t bring back the dead.
In the past, Filipinos found the sense of humor in situations, singing Happy Birthday in lifeboats and posing as mermaids next to flooded streets. But this is one disaster we just can’t joke about. We can only mourn.
I haven’t even lost anything, but I’m mourning.
I literally slept through the storm, but now my head is light and my eyes are tired from crying.
How much more pain is there for those who lost all they had?
I can’t even bear to think about it.