I was told my behaviour was altruistic

This research topic submitted by elisa (ewhelan@ozemail.com.au) on 11/15/02.

Just close on a month ago I found myself in the middle of the bombing in bali. My sisters husband and his friend had not returned home having left to go to the sarri club the night before. When we were told that there had been a bomb we immediatly started searching the hospitals. We walked through wards of people injured. My sister was obviously hysterical, shaking her head in disbelief and I knew that I had to be strong for her. I also knew that no-one was looking for his friend, that no-one even knew he was in Bali, so I had to search for him as well. Having searched the wards of injured with no luck we were taken to the morgue. Neither my sister nor the balinese man helping us had the strength to face seeing this. I knew that it had to be done and that we had to find tilly, I knew that it would be etched in my mind forever but I had to do it for my sister, for tilly and for john, his friend and johns family. I suppose the only other underlying factor was that I personally had to know that we had checked every avenue. So I did it,what I saw was horrific. I wasn't able to find either of them under the circumstances as many of the victims were unidentifiable. We then checked every hospital in bali and I held my sisters hand all the way. I gently prepared her for what might happen at each step and asked what would you like to do if we get to the last hospital and we still can't find him. We decided that we should go to the bombsite and look there. Knowing that there may still have been victims at the site I suggested that Mel stay at the hotel and I go to the site alone. She agreed to this and that is what I did. I was scared and shocked and extremely upset and I remember the balinese man saying to me "you are very strong". I replied "I am not normally but I have to be for my sister".
Later Johns sister arrived. We found out just before she arrived that her brother John had been confirmed dead. Someone found his room key in his pocket. I was picking her up from the airport.She had to be told that he passed away. This was something that I did not want to do but again it was either me or a complete stranger that did not even know who she was or who john was. I gently told her and consoled her. I walked her to his room and held her while she sifted through his belongings and cried. I could barely walk from shaking myself but she was not stong enough to go to his room on her own. I made sure that I ordered food and water for both of the girls who could not think to eat or drink because of their sadness.
I think that any humanbeing would do the same in those circumstances.
We also had a guy arrive in Bali that knew Mel, my sister, briefly from the school that she taught at. When he arrived he had no knowledge of what had happened. When he was informed of the bombing at the airport he immediatly checked himself out on the next flight the next morning, however when he found out from a friend that we needed some help he delayed his flight and stayed to help for 4 days and did not leave until we were out of the country.
People do not just do this for family and friends, in a tragedy people help even complete strangers. I think it's part of being human.



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