26 May, 2013

IN THE FACE OF DEATH 520-SOMETHING FEET HIGH


READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. }} If I were to choose what kind of death I’d have, I prefer a quick, peaceful, and painless one. In a lot of my random conversations with friends I’ve shared that if given a choice, I’d like to die young, probably beautiful too. This one sounds utterly vain, but I would consider it a huge bonus if I can be granted that.

 WED, 22-MAY 2013 
On top of my close-to-morbid wishlist, I should also want to die in one piece. Some time between 11:00AM and 12:00PM last Wednesday, I considered my own death. Trust me, I avoided the thought but the situation I was in got me to a point that made me contemplate on my own demise. Together with 14 others, I was stuck in between floors inside a construction hoisting equipment for almost an hour. It was the looooongest waiting hour I’ve ever had. A dead end’s better because you could at least make a U-turn. After that, you're back on road to find your way. Heck, I’d be elated to see a Fire Exit up there, but it doesn’t work that way. There were 2 floors full of people, all of them thinking and discussing how to safely get us out. Someone from the lower floor said they were going to manually haul us up or again manually bring us down. A man from the upper floor piped in and yelled,

Hindi pare, hindi puedeng manual.
Hindi ako compiansa. Baka mag tuloy-tuloy yan.
My initial reaction was, “Oh shit. Fuck.” Everyone was silent.  My hands turned cold, but my brain was extra alert and it seemed to be responding extremely fast to everything that I was seeing and hearing. I was thinking of all possibilities that I could do. I was looking for safe spots that I can hold on to. Of course I knew I’d find none. At the same time,  I said the Angel of God  prayer 15 times  — I said one for every person inside the Alimak and 1 for me. In my silent prayer, I was telling Him that if one of us had that day as a "due date", I really think He ought to consider. I was interrupted by 2 thuds that I heard. 2 men jumped on the Alimak and I saw a third person was about to get on it. I was watching him and the moment that he was about to get on I called him, made sure I had the attention of at least one of them, and yelled:
Kuya huag ka na umakyat please. Pababain mo na lang yung dalawang kasama mo. Kase tingnan mo o, nasa maximum number kame ng tao dito sa loob o.
Sobrang eksakto na kame sa maximum. Mas delikado pag may sumampa pa na tao sa taas so hwag nyo na dagdagan."

Different Goodbyes. The silence inside the Alimak was deafening. I didn't know what everyone else was doing at that time. I was focused on what the men outside were doing. The silence was shortly broken by the voice of one of my teammates. I don't know if the girls at the back heard him when he said,
Nag-text na ako sa asawa ko. Sabi ko, sya na ang bahala sa dalawa.
I looked at him and I couldn't believe what I was hearing,  then the reality of death hit me . I stopped thinking about ways that we could all get out safely. At that time, our lives were no longer in our hands. The feeling sank in all the more when one of my bosses called her daughter who just graduated last March and got a degree in Dentistry. She made a call. She tried to make it look discreet, but I heard every word that she was telling her daughter.
Anak, I'm very proud of you. Na-stuck lang kame sa Alimak.I love you, anak.
2 days after the incident, I found out from the girlfriend of my other team mate that she got a phone call and instead of the usual "Hello" or "Hi, anong gingagawa mo?" greeting, my team mate's opening line was,
I love you, hon.
Worst Case Scenario. 1 wrong move 520+ feet above the ground, we’re down in 5 seconds. 15 lives gone and our body parts would have to picked up, recovered, matched ... if there’s anything more than painful, that would have been it.

No Phone Calls. No Text Messages. I did not make a phone call nor did I send a text message to anyone. I did not want my Mom to freak out. The thought alone of what was happening at that time while waiting to be rescued was already killing every single person inside the hoisting equipment and I can just imagine how awful it would be for her. I wanted to spare her from those.

I closed my eyes. If things got ugly, the last images I’d like to see were faces of people close to my heart. Again, I talked to God and said that I surrender everything to Him, so whatever happens to us, or to me I entrust everything in His hands. I'm sure He has greater plans.  I looked back at the entire 31 years of my existence , pretty much how you go down memory lane when you’re asked to write a paper for class — I smiled. I smiled because I know I have been a devoted daughter, supportive sister, caring & crazy friend, a loving girlfriend, a dependable colleague, and generally a good person. I said,


No regrets, Lord. If this is where everything ends, thank you for the 31 years that You have given me.  I hope I was able to make a difference in other people's lives.   Maraming salamat sa  mga tao na nagmamahal sakin at nagmahal sa akin. I’m sorry coz sometimes maldita ako, but  I need to protect Mama. No one will protect her but me. No one’s going to protect me also so I need to be strong for her and my brother.

For what it's worth, I forgive my friends who have betrayed me and people who have hurt me.
If I survive this thing in one piece and magkaron ng chance na magkita kame ulit I will tell them that I forgive them.

This is not something I can control. Mejo madaya ka, Lord. Diba alam mo ayoko mamatay ng pangit. But if this is what You want, I'm letting go and I leave everything to You. Ikaw na bahala sa Mommy ko, kay Mark, and sa Daddy ko. Ikaw na bahala sa kanila at sa kanya..
Immediately, this feeling of calmness and peace embraced me and I realized  I was not scared to die . The moment you accept the reality of death, fear leaves your heart. If there were anything I was deathly terrified of, it would be physical pain. If we were to fall, I would rather not make it out alive. Death is a normal life event, but I think it only becomes a big thing and the hardest thing in the universe when we’re talking about the people who are left behind.  Death can be a bitch . It is inexorable.

When they were preparing for whatever it was to do that manual reeling, one of the bosses from construction yelled to the group outside the Alimak,


Pare, kung hindi ka compiansa, huag mo ituloy. Huag na yung manual.
That was music to my ears. It took a while for the men to get us out. I’m glad they explored other options. Although it took time, the chances of us falling down were not as wild as their Plan A. Whatever Plan B was, I was so sure it was way better than Operation Manual. We might just make it after all! After 20 more minutes of anxiously waiting and holding on to dear life, we were rescued. The other people I was with were terrified of the steel bars that were used as planks so we could cross from the Alimak to the closest floor, unfortunately, it did not have a landing but  I was so thankful that I took gymnastics lessons when I was a kid . Thank God again that I was a cheerdancer. I didn’t get scared walking on the metal slabs - only one 1 foot could fit at a time. It reminded me of the balance beam in gymnastics class. I was the fourth person to get out and this was how I got rescued ....



At the end of the day, only God knows where we should be. He is the only one who can tell if our life stories have reached ‘The End’. From the pains of 2012 to what happened last Wednesday to all the days after that, I trust that these are the cards He wants me to play.  I know He has something big and beautiful waiting for me . I'm still here, right? He knows what He wants for us, but it’s entirely up to ourselves to believe in that plan or not. The conversations we have with Him are more than enough for Him. Right now, I couldn’t ask for more.
Peace, Love, and Good Vibes.Ü  ❥ __RUSS.

3 comments:

Clare Henney said...

I was teary-eyed reading the goodbyes part of this entry.

I'm really glad you all got out OK.

Ako rin I've always prayed that when I die, I'd like to have a painless, peaceful death...wag lang sana anytime soon. I want to be a mom pa one day.

R. ✩ said...

Clare, you and I will still become soccer moms + one of my kids will become a basketball player :)

Ricademus said...

It works is for my phone...I'll try the computer later.

I once had a chance to go in my sleep, but fought it because my family still needs me.