CEBU CITY, Philippines -As part of his yearly practice, Excelsis Jee Balaza, 24, participated in a Novena Mass at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.
Little did he know that on that day, he would be facing the most terrifying moment of his life.
Balaza was driving his motorcycle back home after hearing mass when he was blindsided by a car along the North Reclamation Area in Mandaue City.
“The collision was between my motorcycle and a sedan. The accident happened quickly. In a blink, I found myself lying on the asphalt road,” Balaza said.
According to Balaza everything happened so fast. It felt like he just stumbled and wanted to get back up but his body wouldn’t allow him to.
“The initial reaction was to stand up but it was at that moment when I realized that I could not move my legs anymore. Some bones in fingers were also dislocated that time. I was speechless and tears just flowed,” said Balaza, recalling that life-changing accident.
For a moment, Balaza felt helpless and then thoughts of not being able to do any of those ‘normal’ things entered his mind.
“I was anxious on whether I would be able to walk again normally. It was probably the thing that I worried about the most,” he added.
Accidents cause unusual physical discomfort and post-traumatic stress, which can be intellectually and emotionally challenging. Others might experience depression since it will be an impediment to recovery, particularly on the urge of returning to a normal life.
“If there was a constant feeling during that time, it was feeling helpless and self-pity. You know when you could not do the usual routine you had – it was an awful feeling. Even in getting simple things done, it proved to be difficult. For every action, I had to call on somebody to help me,” said Balaza.
He told CDN that the accident left him a lot of scars, physically and mentally.
It is inevitable that it’s not just the person in the accident who suffers and needs to recover, but also family members and loved ones who see the person’s life change. Luckily for Balaza, kindness from people around him was that one thing that helped him get back on track.
“I went back to school during my recovery stage…All these things became bearable through the people around me – my parents, friends, teachers, and classmates. I even had classmates who waited for me at the school gate of my university just to assist me throughout the day. I could not thank all of these people enough,” he said.
“However, I also believe [in the saying that] ‘What doesn’t kill us only make us stronger.’ Not to romanticize the accident, but it takes much more effort and motivation to not only survive the accident but live beyond this as well. In most cases, people who encountered these accidents were not given the chance to see the light of day again,” he adds.
When asked about his thoughts of learning behind everything, he had this to say:
“Behind ‘everything,’ I guess I am still figuring things out and why that accident happened to me. I do not know if it was a test of faith thinking that I came from a basilica mass that time or a mere coincidence. I would want to believe that it was a test of faith for me to be more gratifying for all the blessings that I have received. People would say that it was a miracle from the Holy Child Jesus and I would gladly agree with that. In all these things, divine providence never wavered in the form of good people.”
Recently, there were many others who were thrown into similar circumstances.
One devastating incident can completely alter a person’s life, but Balaza passionately believes that in sharing his story, he could educate others about his experiences for a better outcome.
“Accidents happen. Bad things happen even to people. First and foremost, each one has to be very careful on the road. Practice defensive driving at all times because not everyone does this. Let us be the change we want,” he said.
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