Lisbet Guerrera: My Past Life


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"I looked back towards the mountain and saw a huge cloud of black ash rising from the summit"

Sangay from Plazapampa

The moments leading up to her death, were the first past life memories that I ever had, that made me aware of Lisbet. Those final moments were what my nightmares consisted of, that I'd been having for all of my life. They always began at the same point, and ended at the same point, which was just a few seconds before she met her death.

In the second half of 2006, I consciously learnt how to meditate, and it was through this that I was able to regress myself and work my way through the trauma of Lisbet's death, and traumatic it was indeed:

"The fateful day was just like any other day...My father and I had gone out hunting for food. We used to venture out a long way from home, and I think we would head towards the volcano as there were some lakes up there which were good for fishing (i'm not 100% sure about this, as we never actually made it to the lakes before the eruption on that day), but I remember my father took a contraption that looked like a catapult, and also a blowpipe with some darts, which he would use to hunt for small mammals or birds for us to eat. I would always feel terribly guilty about catching the fish, and I could never watch when Papi hunted for rabbits, or when he would slaughter a chicken, but sometimes, when our crops failed and money was scarce, we had no other alternative but to feed off of the wildlife. We rarely struggled for our food, this was just our way of life, most of the time our food came from the village on market day.

We were on our way to the lakes for the fish, and we had stopped off on the way to pick some berries, and this was on the slopes around the foot of the volcano, which is a long way from any populated area. I remember picking the berries, and my father was sharpening the darts for the blowpipe, the ground had been trembling at frequent intervals, but I wasn't really that bothered by it as this was a common occurance for most of the time around here. We had been here for some time when there was an odd rumbling sound that became louder and louder and ended with a deafening 'bang', and I remember going into a state of shock for a few seconds and feeling very disorientated. I regained my senses and felt my bladder emptying out of fear, I found my father was pulling me up by my wrists and yelling at me to run. The ground was shaking and I thought it was the end of the world. I looked back towards the mountain and saw a huge cloud of black ash rising from the summit.

A volcanic ash cloud similar to what Lisbet saw

Still dazed, I got up and ran as fast as I could behind my father, who kept stopping to let me catch up. It seemed whichever direction we ran in, or however fast, we couldn't seem to escape from the huge cloud of ash hanging over us. I remember the intense heat, and gasping as there didn't seem to be enough air to breathe. It was at this point where my memories blend in with the recurring nightmares I used to have. My father had spotted a lake, and he was running towards it, kind of laughing out of relief as if he thought we were safe, he was beckoning me to follow him into the water, insisting that we would be safe in there until the danger had passed. I ran towards the water, but I was stopped dead in my tracks as my father started screaming and thrashing about. The water was churning and frothing around him, it must have been affected by the volcanic activity. It was a surreal moment, watching my father dying in the water, yet I also feared so much for my own safety, that I barely seemed to notice, the combination of events threw me into a state of shock and I turned and ran in a blind panic. There is an incredible feeling of loneliness mixed with the fear. My father was gone, I wasn't aware of anybody else around me. I was here, totally alone, and left to face this monstrous calamity by myself, a terrible thing for anyone, much less a 12 year old girl.

There is a tremendous rumbling noise like thunder, only it seems ten times louder. Something strikes me on my head, a rock or something. I fall to my knees, clutching my head in my hands, blood is streaming through my fingers and running down my arms. I'm crying uncontrollably, I turn around to see a huge wall of black ash rolling towards me at a tremendous speed, it's rolling over and over itself, much like black ink when poured into water, it almost looks as though it's alive. I see this sight, and I'm totally petrified, I open my mouth to scream, but nothing comes out. My focus suddenly shifts to a third person perspective, and I can see Lisbet on her knees, she raises her arms to shield her face and as she turns away, the blackness engulfs her and she's gone."

I can only speculate what happened after Lisbet's death. If the burning hot ash didn't vaporize her body instantly, then she would have been buried without a trace, never to be found by anyone. I wonder if her friends or family ever knew or found out what happened to Lisbet and her father. The eruption happened on June 2nd 1957...8 years to the day before 'my' birth. The thought that she still lays today where she fell is quite an upsetting one for me. Her young life, wiped out in an instant, soon to be forgotten. With no proper burial, or headstone to mark her grave, soon nobody will know that she ever existed at all. And that's the reason for this webpage, I made it as a memorial to Lisbet.

I don't like to dwell on her death too much, it still hurts to think about it in many ways. It was traumatic enough to experience it as Lisbet, but I can also view it as a third person, I can see Lisbet as a seperate individual and not me. It's times like these that I feel desperately sad for her. She was a sweet and peaceful little girl who didn't deserve to die that way. But despite her terrible fear at the end, she didn't suffer any physical pain, her death was quick and painless.