Friday night, September 25, I slept at around 5am. Still crying as usual. Its almost my honey's 40 days and I haven't coped yet. Mama woke me up at around 9am. She said we should pack up because the water was rising. Sure enough I didn't have to panic. Its been more than 40years since it last flooded here (or so she says).
I have my stuff mostly neatly packed in carts (since my honey and I were ready to move out soon). I was kinda confident they would just float around and the water level wouldn't even rise up above the knee. The other room had a steel double deck. They piled up their clothes and important stuff on top of their beds. The two foams were placed on top of the top deck. Pillows, stuff toys, my 2 sisters' clothes were all there. My bed foam was on the lower deck. I was able to pack some shoes, move out 2 laptops and the documents along with CDs to the houses of my aunts (both having second floors).
Our house was a bit higher than the houses afront the compound since you had to make three steps up before you reach our level ground. By 10am, water was seeping in the house. I had no choice and I felt helpless. I clutched my cat in my hands and had to comfort her with all my best. I prayed. I prayed hard to God to spare us all. I called upon JP to help me have the courage to protect the family and keep things in order as much as I can.
I packed my daily stuff inside my laptop bag. I put other shelf items in one safe bag. Put on my contact lenses (since I broke my eyeglass recently). At first, I tried to lock myself inside my room to keep the water from seeping inside. I'm like a stupid child trying to stop water by pushing it away. Sooner or later, the stack of storage carts fell like a destroyed tower of Pisa. I can't help but scream and swear all throughout. Documents, and even underwears and some dry comfortable clothes were there. And that was the end. They all splashed into the knee high water inside my room. All I can do was cry.
My cat jumped up my closet for safety, while I scrambled to find those that are very important enough to be saved. The rest, I just have to let out a sigh and forget about them. At almost noon, we had to move out of the house. The water we have to traverse to get to open space is already above 6feet. No one was a good swimmer, though I know a bit how to swim but not professionally. The water was filled with floating trash, animal filth, grease, lacquer thinner, etc. I felt like my eyes were burning in pain but I had to sacrifice. Without the contact lenses, I'm good as blind and I can't help.
My aunt, having a two-storey house, took in some of our important documents. I left my youngest sister and my cat with my aunt who stayed alone in her house. Praying that water would soon subside. I had to assist my mom with the other stuff to do. We didn't want our youngest sister to be soaked in cold because she had weak lungs. She would have to stay dry longer.. or until its necessary to leave the house. I was worried about her and my cat. How were they supposed to cross that deep water? Me and my mom would have to think fast.
Best I did was tie a rubber hose around the 70-year old asbestos and the steel grill across the old ancestry house. I'm no seaman, I'm no pro. I just had to muster all my strength to tie that darn hard hose into a good knot where everyone could hold on to to be able to cross the other side. I had to yell and scream to let out the force for each time I had to pull and make a knot. I even had to try it myself so that they would be safe when they cross the deep part of the flood. I'm not a swimmer, and I'm afraid of deep water, but this time, I need to be the hero for the weaker ones.
There was a floating furniture that was around that could help pull those who were crossing the deep area. On the other side, they tied a small rope for pulling purposes. At 1pm to 2pm, we had to force the people inside my aunt's house to go out.. otherwise, water level would not be feasible for them to cross the deep area anymore. We had to pullout a small cage to put my cat in. The problem was it was too heavy to be brought along across the deep water. I had trouble with it and lost it beneath the deep muddy water. With all sacrifice and courage, I had to dive in and find it. I let my toes do the digging for me, but it was damn too heavy. Even screaming aloud did not help me muster all the strength to haul it out of the water. I lost my other plastic shoe. I was wearing a vinyl clothing to keep me warmer than a jacket. My youngest sister had poor lungs, and so I had to sacrifice my vinyl covering for her safety. The hard part was making my cat cross the water. My mom had to carry her very tightly and walk around the roof to go to the other side to reach the top of the schoolbus rooftop.
I learned that only two of us were pro swimmers (a practising nurse, and a studying seaman), both were my cousins. Even my nurse aunt had to carry with her an empty 5gallon plastic case for her safety. She held on to me like I was a water guard. She didn't know I don't know how to swim. But I tried hard for everyone. At 2pm, we were on top of the rooftop. It was still raining hard and everyone was cold. I felt colder since I no longer have my vinyl covering which was used by my younger sister. We were all shivering. My eyes were burning. I had to get a towel or something to wipe and protect my eyes. I had to swim back to the deep part and get me and my sisters a towel they can use to wipe their faces of the oil that was all over. I had to wear a cap to protect my eyes. It was kinda useless since at the highest ground, the water was simply at my chin level and that the pouring of the rain reaches my face and again droplets of grease and thinner went into my eyes.
My mom thought of putting up a tent material to protect us from the rain. Good thing mama packed in foods in plastic bags. I had one serving of fit n right. The others ate biscuits. My cousin had to drink rainwater because he was so thirsty. The shivering won't stop, neither the rain. It was so hard and the sky felt like it was angry. I looked everywhere and there were trashes. I only wish people were more considerate of others. No individual effort to clean up would help if others won't do the same.
I don't know how long it passed. We sticked together on top of the roof of my mom's school bus which was soaked up to its windshield. Furthermore, we would have to sit on top of our own roofs. I pitied my cat since she was so stressed and very wet. I can't even dry her. All I can do was talk to her and tell her its going to be okay soon. Around 7pm, water was already just waist high. The deepest area still until chin. We had to move them back to safer place since there's a sign of water level decrease. My cat was left atop the roof. She kept crying and crying. The problem is, it was still hard to transport her across the deep area. I had to get her down from the roof very carefully without slipping to avoid accidents. I twisted my back and felt some muscle strains on my legs and arms. I put her atop the floating furniture and my mom would pull her across the other side. The problem was, water got to her up to her chin. She got frantic and screamed wildly. How I wish I could just wrap her in a warm blanket and keep her out of all this mess. But this is the only way to save her.
The other animals drowned. Our neighbors cried when they lost their small dog from the strong gush of water. The others left their dogs on leash and forgot about them. Poor animals. Humans are supposed to take care of them. :( :( :( I wouldn't let my poor cat be in any peril. I always want her in good condition no matter what. She's almost 10 human years old next year, and she's a very pretty companion. I love her so much, I don't care how much she scratched me in her fear. How many pees she had to spill on me because she was so damn scared. I was so scared myself. I could imagine how hard it was for her. :(
I couldn't rest easy knowing that the water was not yet completely receding. I asked my sister to help me clean up the place by filtering the water of garbages which were floating around. This might help draining the water. We had to store bottles and other plastic stuff in huge black bags. At around 9pm, we had dinner at my aunt's second floor. This was the last time my cat had food. We all smell of thinner and our clothes marked with grease. My cat was smelly just the same but she ate. I urged her to eat as much as she can. I brought her back to the house and I think she got scared that her comfort blanket was no more. :( She continously cried when she saw that nothing was in order and there was mud all over.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="504" caption="hopeless morning"][/caption]
I couldn't sleep. While mama and my sisters were having dinner, me and my cat was alone at home and I hugged her. She was shivering but she felt comfort even though we were both wet. She managed to get some rest. We had no electricity at this time, and I had to use up the wedding candles JP and I customized. Sad that it had to be used this way. :( The ref was still floating, so many things were floating. Even my carts that brought me hope now looks hopeless. Whatever important things there were are no more. :( I had to brace myself. This is the day that I always wanted. This is the day I wanted to clean / revamp my room. Now I have it. I have the chance to start something new for myself and my family. But I'm still grieving. How come all of this would have to happen in chains? How come JP was spared from this all and not anyone else? God has plans. I don't understand it, but I know He knows what needs to be done.
I stare at the ref which now serves as the candle stand. I thought a lot of thoughts. Maybe the candles were meant for this. Maybe this disaster is to bring everyone closer. Maybe this disaster will give us new life. Maybe this disaster will heal me. But it didn't. I cried in solitude that throughout this disaster, no JP worried for me. No JP texted me if I'm okay. No JP called to see if I'm alright. No JP to check on whether he's hurt or not. Nothing. I thought it was an unnecessary burden released.. but its not a burden. I want to love him through this, or though sunny times. But now, he's gone. Ondoy didn't take away anything from me. Ondoy gave me something. He gave me a chance to start again. He gave me a diversion.
And then it was time for dinner. For the first time during the day, I don't recall where I got all the strength I had. I was so ravenous. I finished the whole container of rice left for me. I urged my cat to eat more too for it might be our last good meal. I brought my cat back home to our messy place. Mama and I were both restless. How can we get things in order before Wednesday? It was just Saturday. I was busy removing items that were to be discarded immediately. A lot of CDs had to be thrown away. A lot of other wooden cabinets had to be discarded too. Computer table, wooden closets, etc. I'm a minimalist. I thought to myself.. well, its good riddance. Less objects, less space consumption. Hallelujah!
But I don't know where to begin. I was cold. I was still wearing the clothes I had on since morning. I had to borrow some of my sister's shirt. Still I was cold. Mama had to retire for an hour and a half to regain her strength, while I cleaned the CR which was a disaster. Next I had to remove all my stuff from the sala, removing unnecessary items. I had to cry to see that ALL my books had to be thrown away. I only saved 3 books. I even had to throw away my yearbook. I really really had to cry hard. Some books had memories, but these are things that I already know. I already read. I knew I had to let go. Some things, I had to save (as my mom said). But later on, I grew on a sort of paranoia.
I had to throw away things.. a lot of things. Even those that were still useful. I wanted to rid myself of too much worry. From now on, I will not buy anything I do not need or something that is not a replacement. I got myself a new closet for my clothes while my own clothes were still on its way to drying. I have to make special thanks to certain people: Ruthie Navarra, Patrick Leonard Mayo, Mariel Tripon and family and Erik Lacson. Ruthie and Pat brought us blankets, and noodles which kept us alive for the next couple of days. Mo and Erik brought us clothes that were very useful for me especially (since I had no dry clothes litterally). Ruth and Pat bought me a drier that we very much need at that time (still have to pay them for this). I handwashed tons of clothes. I couldn't imagine how much I was able to handwash. That has got to be the most number of clothes I've washed in my entire life.
I incurred lots and lots of bruises, contusions and scratches. Up to now I have large bumps which were itchy all across my legs and arms. Good things my eyes didn't get infected from having the dirt in my eyes/contact lenses for more than 24hours. The whole night of that Saturday til Sunday morning was very gruesome. You don't know where to begin, you can't even feel like accomplishing something at all! Nowhere in the house can you put down anything without losing it. There was mud all over the place.. water was still inside up to ankle deep. All we could do was stare at them and try to find plastic bags to put in the trash.
We were able to dry some clothes by Tuesday. I had to rely on the clothes that Mo and Erik gave us. The blanket from Ruthie is my favorite. It was ultimately warm and comfy. For the nights, I would snug inside the blanket after a quick shower inside my cat. She wasn't eating at all since Sunday til that Tuesday. That was when I thought of bringing her to the vet. With all the dirt on my clothes and slippers that don't even match, I had to rush her to the vet for her safety. She looked pale and was very very thin. She doesn't respond much to the noises and she doesn't even turn to you when you call her. It made me frantic. I'm not losing her after losing JP!!!!
I lost JP because I didn't have to power to save him. But I have the power to save my cat and I can do something about it because she is family to me and how she is matters to me as much as every family member matters to me! I couldn't bear to see her staring in blank space while food was served infront of her. I tried to walk her around that morning to get some fresh air and sunshine but she was quite scared. She pee'd and poo'd almost everywhere she can because she got scared with the sight of water. I had to leave her at the vet for care. She was traumatized. She was diagnosed with weak liver because of stress. She was anemic, no appetite and that she has a cold. Until she's able to eat by herself, she can't go home. :( Until I have my own bed even, she can't stay with me. :(
I need Nyey now.. more than ever. She doesn't talk back but she makes me feel good whenever she's around. JP is gone now, and its hard to accept but Nyey will help me.. and now she's sick. I remember having lunch at Jollibee in Libis and it felt like I could cry in public. Grief, tiredness, worriedness, etc. Its crept up my system is slowly killing me. I can't find peace.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="479" caption="I miss her so much"][/caption]
The next coupld of days, I would have to visit her. She needs regular visiting. I called up Christ the King where JP's ashes were put. They said the place was still intact after the storm. I bought new flowers and new candle. I was sad when I saw that nobody went there to visit him. Poor honey JP. I'm even sorry I had to be able to visit him only once that week since we were in a calamity. The only thing I managed to do for him was pray the rosary before I pass out from this meds at night.
I'm only happy nobody was hurt except for the minor bruises and other pains we have. I have some serious back pains from washing tons of clothes by hand. My hands are also in bad shape from having sores and cuts. My own legs look like they haven't been cared for in years, yet it happened in only a week!
Right now, I'm able to go online to check on the world. But the whole house is still in havoc. Nothing is in place. My mom spent lots of money on fixing the schoolbus. We had to replace closets and cabinets where clothes would be kept. I managed to buy air tight containers for the msot secure items. Imagine.. cutting down my carts into just two from formerly six! And still, my paranoia strikes from time to time. All I want to do is throw things away.
New policy: No items as gifts please. Only perishables. Food would always be the best gift. Now is the time to practice utilitarianism. Live simply, so that others may simply live.