As of this writing, the fourth tropical storm is disturbing the weather of our country, Typhoon Domeng (International Name: Maliksi).
The first tropical cyclone, typhoon Agaton, came on New Year's day; the second, typhoon Basyang, destroyed the lovers' plans on Valentines' day; and the third, typhoon Caloy, visited during the Christian's observation of Holy Week.
Typhoon Domeng entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) just in time for the first week of school. Classes in the Philippines begin in June.
Having survived a deadly typhoon last December, my husband and I become more vigilant in monitoring tropical depression on Earth Null School, an online real-time weather map data. But that was not the first time I experience a life-threatening storm.
Last year, when our family moved to Tacloban city for my husband’s new work assignment, we were oblivious of the weather update as we waited for our flight. We were supposed to fly at 2PM, but it was rescheduled at 6PM.
Inside the plane, a pitiless storm, Typhoon Crising, lengthened our 45-minute flight into a two-hour dreaded ride as the pilot maneuvered the carrier to the safest route possible. I was four months pregnant, beside me was my three-year-old.
With a maximum seating capacity of 72 passengers, our plane was susceptible to the strong jolts of turbulence.
What we saw outside the plane window was pitch black as the plane bumped from time to time as if we were riding on a jeep on rocky road. I looked at the faces of the flight attendants for assurance -- a smile perhaps to tell us everything is all right. But what I saw were paled lips and worried looks.
I could hear the restless whispers of prayers by nearby passengers and the terrified cries of their children. My husband who was sitting across the aisle, an avid airborne traveler, revealed that it was his first time to experience such a frightful trip.
“This could be it”, I thought to myself, “We could all die here.”
I pleaded in prayer, “Please…not today, Lord. I still have stories to write.”
The pilot decided to divert our flight due to the zero visibility. We landed at the Manila airport, our country's Capital City. It was inconvenient, but our safety was his priority.
That near-death experience revealed my deepest desire to write stories. This self-discovery made me realized an urgency to document my life journey so I may die empty.
Since then every storm has been a personal reminder to write. Death is uncertain in this typhoon-stricken country. There are still stories within me that are waiting to be released.
These are stories on how I battled with chronic depression; how I survived verbal, physical and spiritual abuse; how my life became a case study; how I muddled through the demands of marriage and motherhood; how I observed life in the hinterlands, coastal areas, and the plains in between; and how I witnessed the pain of humanity -- the struggles of families with special needs children, the heartache of infertile couples wanting babies, the agony of parents witnessing the death of their heirs, the torment of injustice, and so much more.
At this moment, Typhoon Domeng is reminding me to publish these stories in every breathing, living opportunity I have for I do not know how long I will live. I know my written stories will be immortalized; it will be read even after I die. The lessons that are attached to these are up for the readers to decide.
We all have stories to tell. Every life has its own learning journey; thus, no experience is a waste. The lessons we learn along the way is our gift to the world. We must share our stories today for the clock is ticking, and we do not know when our time is up.