Lady of the house-A A +A
Sunday, October 20, 2013
WALA gyud ko mopiyong sa akong mata. Kung katapusan na tu sa kalibutan, gusto ko makakita kung unsay nanghitabo (I didn’t close my eyes at all. If this was the end of the world, I wanted to see how the end would come).”
So said Lucia, my favorite “hilot” provider. She recalled that she was terrified, but didn’t show it to her four very young grandchildren, all clinging to her.
She heard the earth grinding under her house, like an airplane ready to take off, impatient and ferocious. With that experience, she has vowed not to go home late, no matter the number of people calling for her services.
The need to be home with the family on crucial moments such as the recent earthquake in Cebu is a common resolve and wish.
My husband and I were in North Carolina, USA when news of the earthquake hitting Bohol and Cebu reached us. Friends Josie Osorio, Fannie Ariola and Ahlee Velasco had said goodbye and left for their residences in Los Angeles and Texas, respectively, ready for work the next Monday.
The memories we gave each other, and brought with us were all pleasant and memorable, enough to last us a lifetime. And then, news of Nature’s anger at Cebu and Bohol relegated these to the backburner.
We worried about loved ones here, and so text messages and voice calls were flying everywhere. One moment we were the message recipients; other times, the senders.
But there was no let-up in the worry and anxiety, multiplied further by images of how the reality could be. I asked how my father was… my daughter… my grandson… my brothers… everyone else in the family.
I asked my dad how the earthquake felt; “strong,” he answered. That was an understatement, I concluded; my father always gives understatements when asked to assess negative experiences.
All others talked of the earth moving, of feeling like being sucked into an abyss, of a seemingly unending grinding and gnarling from where they stood. They spoke, too, of house dogs howling and whining minutes before the earthquake and aftershocks.
My husband and I came back to Cebu past midnight of Friday. I imagined breakages inside the house, of refrigerators toppling, ceiling fans ripped off, and plates broken on the floor.
Except for the religious statues on the altar moving a bit, the house remained our welcoming home.
As is our practice when we leave for work, we recite the Prayer to the Our Lady of This House that some nuns had gifted to my husband some years back.
“O sweet and gentle lady, Immaculate Mother of God, We choose thee today to be the Mistress and Lady of this house. Guard it, dear Mother, from pestilence, fire, lightning, tempest and earthquakes, from schisms and heresies, from depredations of burglars and the malice of its enemies…”
“Protect its inmates, Sweet Mary. Watch over their going out and their coming in, and preserve them from sudden death. Keep us from all sin and harm, and pray for us to God, that we may live in His service and depart this life in His Grace. Amen. O Mary conceived without sin, Pray for us who have recourse to Thee.”
I believe that while we were away, the house was in very good hands.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 21, 2013.