I heard about it from mom right after her choir practice. Our parish priest, Father FA became the barrier of bad new before the practice began. It was only woman and children's practice this week, so I had no idea about any further details then. Father FA received the news first hand and I think it was the choir that he first informed. A couple of weeks before, the choir had already been struck by a misfortune that one of its member, Albert, met with a horrible hit and run. Imagine this, he got hit by a lorry, causing him brain damage and now, he's lying in the hospital, half paralysed. The previous choir practice was offered in prayers to Albert. This week's practice, according to mom, was offered to all the pilgrims who was involved in the accident.
The thought of it totally slipped off my mind the rest of the day. It made me feel like an absolute jerk when I saw the picture of the overturned bus with passengers sticking out, pinned under the bus, that I have forgotten about it after mom told me. I felt worse that this was what I was trying to remember to include in my night prayer last night and I didn't have the chance to. I was almost speechless when I saw the news over the front page of The Star. I didn't have the chance to flip through the papers as it was D's and it'd be rude for me to pull it away from him. The horrifying picture with the victims pinned under the overturned bus and the firemen trying to save them was heart-wrenching enough to make me cry. But the environment of students yelling to one another in the hallways and the sound of chairs being dragged across the classrooms as students hastily made their way through the class to their seats was kind of distracting to make me actually sit and take in the bad news.
I only managed to see the front page of the report and got chased by the wardens out of the class to attend assembly before I even flip the page for the continuation. A feeling of injustice ran over me as I made my way to the hall for the assembly, watching the other students who were mostly unaware of this horrible tragedy. They probably didn't even give a damn about it, if they knew. It was unfair that these people were suffering from such great loss and people like me are still living life as it is, unhurt and safe. The other students could still be passing the ball to one another in the hallway, unaware, as I turned left towards the hall, while the victims are probably mourning uncontrollably at their homes at the death of their loved ones. It was unfair.
Certainly, the bigger question that came to my mind was, how could this happen when they were all on a pilgirmage to St. Anne? Where was God then? Why did He allow this to happen? I was helpless and unable to answer these questions myself. I couldn't find the right explanation to this. They were all on a pilgrimage, aren't they?! Of all times, why now? I could only comfort myself by telling myself that God has his own plans and decisions. He certainly has his reasons, I'm sure.
I was a little distraught about this whole incident. I know, it didn't happened to me and I should be happy that it's not me or my family there... but I still feel a sense of grief. I sympathise and empathise them. I was quite taken aback when D showed no signs of sorrow when I was gaping at his paper. "Haiya, 11 people died," he said to me, as if to tell me that that was all I needed to know. "Hello, they are all Catholics on a pilgrimage to St. Anne," I said in an offensive way, "We are all addressed as 'brothers and sisters in Christ' for a reason, you know!" I couldn't help but feel angry at the people around me who didn't bother a bit about this tragedy, making it sound like another passing tragedy that caused no one's lives. I know that it is way out of our league to help but at least, show some respect or sympathy!
My anger and frustration stuck with me throughout the day, though I didn't sense it for a brief moment when I was hurrying to finish my Moral assignments. It climaxed when dad "so happens" to forget to bring my daily dose of the paper with him when he was at school to pick me up! I was so looking forward to reading more about it that I kind of yelled at dad for not bringing the papers then. Fortunately, he was pretty calm about it. I couldn't help but express my feelings of the incident to him right in the middle of the school car park that I was close to tears. I got so tensed up that I seeked solace with some food at the canteen.
I only had one thing in mind when I reached home : to read and read and read about the incident. The grief, the feeling of the survivors who lost their family members couldn't possibly be put in words. It was so terrible. The one victim who got my tears flowing out was Arulsamy Savarimuthu, who lost his 13 year old daughter, Alvina. Imagine a father's heartache to see his own daughter, being pulled out from under the bus and die not long after. Imagine that. Think of the pain he's going through. The picture of him at his house, breaking down when receiving donations could let you have a picture of what a father's going through.
Well, after seeing all these I couldn't bring myself to a conclusion as to why God allowed all of these to happen. To me, it is God's amazing way of teaching. Seriously, I see it this way. It's his way to bring us Catholics back together again, unite us in prayer and remind us of who we are and our responsibilities to one another as 'brothers and sisters in Christ'. It's also God's way of reminding us to appreciate and acknowledge our loved ones as we still have them. God's certainly not using these people as a subject to show us these. I'm not God, therefore, I can't explain his plans, but I believe that He has His great design that man have been trying to understand.
See the pictures of the whole congregation coming into the church as one to offer prayers for the victims is enough proof that God has undoubtly brought us Catholics together once more upon this tragedy. I'm sure God, being His loving self, wouldn't want to see us suffer also. Often, we forget about the importance of unity, peace and love. Sometimes, we even neglect these in our daily lives. To me, this is God's only way to reaching out to us, reminding us the things we neglect or forget. WE shall not see this as God's way of inflicting suffering as a form of punishment to us sinful mortals. If he was, I wouldn't see any point of Jesus going to the cross and die for us. Instead, we should take this as a message from God, as harsh as it may seem, we should embrace it and ponder over what He could be trying to say to us. Father's sermons in mass is merely enough to awaken the senses in us.
That's how I see God's amazing works. "He works in mysterious ways," as the saying always goes. As what 5xmom may have put it, these are the different forms of crosses we have to bear. There are smaller crosses and bigger ones. Those who have bigger ones are because they are made stronger. This is how I see God's work. I pray that God will welcome all the 11 victims to heaven with open arms as they leave this world filled with sadness.
"Eternal peace grant unto them, oh Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls rest in peace, Amen."