In The Midst of A Storm

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Posted June 8, 2018 from Philippines

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.

This post was submitted in response to Share Your Story On Any Topic.

Comments 15

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jlanghus
Jun 09, 2018
Jun 09, 2018

Hi Karen,

Thanks for sharing your post. I do hope you and your family are okay, and that the storm passes by easily.

How fortunate you are that both of your children were okay as well as yourself and husband, too. I don't like turbulence at all, and being a sensitive soul like yourself, if couldn't have been easy to say the least:-(

I appreciate what you're saying about how we all have stories to tell, and I do agree that they are or can be gifts to the world, but I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that our stories can heal others, but that they unfold exactly when they need to, at the right time for us and the recipients. If we have a burning desire to tell something in particular, then there is probably a reason for it, but when we do it, shouldn't feel forced to me. I think we should write them as we feel called to do so, and not out of any kind of pressure or fear.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 09, 2018
Jun 09, 2018

Hello, Jill,

We are okay here. The streets in the northern part of the Philippines, Luzon area where the capital city is, are flooded. Typhoon Domeng will be leaving tomorrow, as the weather forecaster reported. But to be honest, just the knowledge of an incoming typhoon brings us chills. We usually have an average of twenty per year so more is expected. Brrrr.

Yeah, I agree that it should come naturally at the right moment. Thank you for that insight.

However, I do feel the pressure, Jill, especially when in life-threatening situations like that plane ride, and another one last December which is the worse ever, I'd think I would die on those moments. My thoughts would always be, " I haven't told my life's story yet." Or " I haven't reached my dream yet."

Yes, we are fortunate to be alive many times. Checking the number of deaths last year, they were not so lucky. No one thought that would be their last breath.

In funerals, I would often wonder how the deceased lived his/her life. I would wonder if what stories did he bring with him/her that was not shared to anyone. Often I would feel sad if no one knew.

Like someone we knew who committed suicide. All they know was he was a quiet but kind son or brother, but nothing else. I wish he opened up more. Or a grandma who could no longer speak on her final moments in life, her life ended and had me wondering, "what could have been her story?".

For some, they never got the chance to tell their life's journey. I want to take this opportunity to write so I have something to leave my sons, grandchildren and their children's children someday.

Every storm just keep on reminding me not to procastinate anymore.

Thanks again, Jill! I treasure your words.

jlanghus
Jun 09, 2018
Jun 09, 2018

Hello:) Good, good:) Glad to hear it and that it's leaving. Yeah, I bet.

You're welcome. I hope you didn't take it as criticism. But that's what I'm saying. We all have lessons to learn and we have certain events that are predetermined but the rest is up to us. Free will. What you are doing is perfect. You haven't sat by the sidelines and done nothing with your life. You will absolutely achieve whatever you set your heart to. What you achieve or don't achieve is perfect and in alignment with what you are supposed to. Does that help or make sense? I believe this. Or, maybe I'm convincing myself...ha:)

I get it. You're kind of in the hot seat there. Thankfully people and inventions are being created all the time and people are becoming more aware of climate change, so hopefully some of the challenges that we are currently facing will start to reverse soon. As empaths, we are here to help heal the planet. We can even do daily prayers visualizing healing the planet:) Lovely thought, right?

You're definitely a deep thinker..ha:) Yes, I wonder that sometimes, too, especially as having no children. I wonder, what legacy am I leaving behind. Where do you my assets go? Will I even be remembered, and if so, for what?

It's great to have a reminder, but please don't live in fear:)

You're welcome, and thank you:-)

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 12, 2018
Jun 12, 2018

Thank you, Jill.

Oh, I did not take it as a criticism. Your words widen my perspectives in life.

Inventions are great, but there are a number of challenges in our country that could not access those yet. Funding is one factor, but the list is long.

We hear about solutions on climate change, but the implementation is the most challenging of all. It is a serious topic to be discussed. But while the world is still thinking about solutions, people are dying in our country. We experience the effects firsthand.

Yes, I envisioned a healed planet. I hope it happens in our time.

I believe you can have legacy even without a biological child. Mother Teresa, for one, with her love and service. And the list of heroic and significant personalities is long!

You will be remembered as the best WP encourager for a start.

Yes, it is not living in fear I guess. It is more of taking responsibility on the gifts we are given. We are to use it to serve others.

Thank you!

jlanghus
Jun 11, 2018
Jun 11, 2018

You're welcome:)

Good to hear:)

Yes, I hear you. That is sad:(

Me, too.

Thanks, hon. I appreciate it your support/encouragement, and you, of course:)

Ha. Such a flatterer!

Yes, although I have an issue with the would "serve" but that's a whole other topic:)

You're quite welcome.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 11, 2018
Jun 11, 2018

Oh no, not flattery, but the truth! :)

Tell me about that issue. :)

jlanghus
Jun 11, 2018
Jun 11, 2018

Aw, thanks!

Just that "serve" to me literally feels like servitude. I prefer "help" or even "service" isn't quite as bad, but still doesn't sit that well with me.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 12, 2018
Jun 12, 2018

Ohh. Yeah. That is what I mean. Thanks, Jill

jlanghus
Jun 12, 2018
Jun 12, 2018

Yes:) YW. Have a great day!

Tarke Edith
Jun 09, 2018
Jun 09, 2018

Hi Karen l am happy that you and your family are alive and your are able to share this story to us sister there is time for everything when God is for you no one can be angens you

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 11, 2018
Jun 11, 2018

Hello, Sister Edith,

Thank you for your words of encouragement. Yes, we are glad to be alive. Each day we are grateful, and each day we treasure each other's presence. That must be the effect of experiencing life-threatening situations: typhoons and earthquakes.

Amen to that, sister. We are spared indeed. I hope we could say the same thing to those who died from recent disasters.

Corine Milano
Jun 12, 2018
Jun 12, 2018

As always, thank you for writing Karen. It's important that your story is shared! I am glad you are here, a vocal contributor to World Pulse!

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jun 12, 2018
Jun 12, 2018

Thank you, Corine. You have been very helpful in my story-telling journey. Every story I publish makes me braver to reveal more hidden stories.

I am grateful to World Pulse for providing this space for women to write, to reflect, and even to heal.

Kudos to you and the whole team!

Sophia Uroko
Jun 24, 2018
Jun 24, 2018

Thank God for safety. He alone can save from storm.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jul 11, 2018
Jul 11, 2018

Thank you, dear sister Sofia. Yes, He can!