Loss is a profound kind of pain. I may have thought that the pains I have gone through these past few months are incomparable — that no one else has seen what I have seen. Later, I realize that whatever I may have felt — however unbearable the pain — will never compare to that felt by those who have lost loved ones and the proof of the memories they represent.
The experience I relive for you below is not mine, but of a friend I believe has shown nothing but strength in her loss.
It was raining — raining like there was no hope of rain ever again. This was what the newscaster warned us about, this is what the neighbors were running away from — a storm. It wasn’t just rain, either. It was rain and wind and fear, all thrust together to create storm so powerful it would wipe out nearly ten thousand people in a few hours. It was Haiyan.
My father was a strong man, he was helpful and always seemed to have a cheerful disposition about him. Our home was filled, day-in and day-out, with people who asked for my father. People would greet him with respect when he passed and children would touch his hand to their foreheads wherever he went. He was the man of the town.
When Haiyan hit our hometown, he was a hero. The rain was strong, and the wind was even stronger. The roofs were tearing off their bearings and debris was whirling past fast enough to kill a man. When the storm surge finally came in, we had to leave the house and find better footing. Everyone was struggling to survive. But my father — where was he? He had helped our neighbor’s children across the rushing flood to safe footing but he never got back.
I imagined that when we would find his body, everyone he had helped in his lifetime would come rushing to pay their last respects to the man who had done so much for them. But nobody came. My mother and I turned to these very same people, asking — no begging, someone to help bring my father to a proper grave. I don’t want to remember what happened next.