One year gone and another one steps in

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By Stella A. Estremera

Spider’s web

Saturday, December 31, 2011

WAS that New Year’s Eve just past? Is it really 2012 today? I guess we just have to accept that. Another year zipped by, throttled thousands of our friends and even grabbed their homes from them, but we’re still here.

Does that mean we will live our year in trepidation of what is to come and when we will die? Definitely not. It’s a fact, we were bound to die the moment we were born, and so, why worry?

That devastation hit friends and colleagues last year makes these realities even more personal. Death and devastation is no longer warnings by environmentalists and science fiction filmmakers. They are real and they are here. But then, death too was there and hovering over everyone during the Black Plague. The only difference is, we were not there. We were not born yet.


Many a time a colleague would speak of doom and gloom and all I could say was our generation had it relatively easy. Our grandfathers (no, not yours, you young ones born in the 1980s and 1990s but ours, the baby boomers) lived through or died during the First World War. Our parents lived through the Second World War, and that is why we are here. Many of those in their generation never even made it to making the progenies that our folks begot. Now, we are the generation defining the future and we have built a life, made a full career, and became who what we are now, without a world war to deal with.

But then, we’d wonder? Wouldn’t it have been easier during the war?

Easy is relative, just as difficult is. Easy, yes, because we’d just go to sleep in find ourselves dead, our bodies lost in the swirling chaos of river waters, mud, debris, and houses, trucks, and everything else bobbing up and down. That should be easier than dodging bullets and not knowing when the bombs will land your way. Yes, easy is definitely relative. So is difficult.

But we live on. We move on. For as long as our souls and our bodies are still together, we live as yet another new year dawns, and as yet we find another dawn to wake up to.

The journey, however, would be more meaningful if we truly learn from all these and see that life is really more about the people who care, who matter, and who need than what we care for, what matters to us, and what we need.

The hundreds who survived but lost everything in Cagayan and Iligan Cities have been saying that.

While we were quick in gathering things to share upon hearing of the devastation, nothing can ever plumb the depth of despair of people who just the night before were sleeping, comfortably inside their homes that they have built through their collective sweat and tears, and waking up fighting floodwaters and saving nothing but one’s life and some other loved ones and strive to live on, picking up muddied valuables and digging up the comfortable house they have invested in from beneath the mud and debris.

But that’s how it is - we live for as long as we are alive. How long? We can never tell. After all, it was just yesterday when it was 2011. One thing we are sure of, if you and I are reading this now, then we have just lived through another year. Happy New Year!

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 01, 2012.


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