Man, where will I even start… My last blog post was 2 years ago and sooo much has happened since.
2020 – COVID-19 did what nobody ever imagined possible: stop the entire world in its track. New York became silent. The Eiffel tower became empty. Airplanes were banned to fly. The virus “came” from Wuhan, China, from there, it spread like wildfire. You contract it from an infected person via droplets; you can either be symptomatic or asymptomatic. Symptoms were flu-like, but progressed faster. Those that got infected on the first wave were unfortunate in the sense that the world was still in shock of how the virus worked. Others only get the cough, others just body-malaise, most people had it worse: difficulty in breathing and high fever. Once you get intubated, there’s no coming back for you. Millions died all over the world. Masks and face shields became a neccessity. Even the mightiest countries were brought to their knees. People had mandated to stay home. Cebu City was placed on Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) on the last week of February 2020. Thousands lost their jobs as local businesses were forced to shut down. I never imagined that it was possible for malls to close down. For the earlier weeks, the people relied on the government for food. This pandemic brought out the best and worst in everyone. The Cebuano-Chinese community, made mostly of rich, business-people, stepped up. They donated money to the government, food to the poorest communities, without asking for anything in return. In fact,Cebu City, at a time, topped the survey with the most number of cases; this was due to the fact that we were the only city and province that was able to acquire its own supply of test kits. More test kits, more logged cases.
Where were we through all of this chaos? We sought reprieve at the mountains of Ga-as, Balamban. We spent 2 months of the ECQ safe and comfortable in the private mountain of my in-laws. Theo grew so fond of the mountain that he treated it as his playground. What about our jobs? Well, Yong and myself weighed the choices. We agreed that he just give up his training since he was still new to that company. I sought consent from my training supervisor and operations manager to use up all of my remaining SILs. I was luckier. My company went above and beyond to try and support its employees during the pandemic. Those that consumed their paid leaves (like myself) were still getting paid. However, the pandemic went on longer than expected. Time came when we had to go back to the city and go back to work. We agreed to leave Theo with my in-laws in the mountain because he was so much safer there.
2021 – Vaccines are starting to roll out. Other people are against it because they find it impossible to believe that it took such a short time for scientists to come up with one. So yes, people are still wearing masks and face shields. There is still fear. Time came when COVID-19 hit home — my home. My father got tested first since he presented with cough and fever — he turned out positive. Since we were all together the weekend before he got tested, all of us quickly submitted ourselves to testing. My mother and youngest sister turned out to be positive, too. Nothing could ever amount to the fear I felt when I received a message form my youngest sister at 3AM that she woke up because she had trouble breathing. The fact that I could not inform my mother in the fear of giving her a heart attack, just made everything more difficult. It was the hardest, most painful experience. I was just thankful that they have recovered.
That aside, my marriage was also put to the test. I must admit that I have never been as hurt or as strong as that moment. I am proud of myself. Instead of crumbling down, I fought for what I knew was right. I took everything that was left of me as a mother, a wife and as a human being, and tried to keep the family together.All of these happened a week before my 31st birthday.
We are still not out of the woods yet. Everyone is still healing. It is a painful and long process, but there is nothing one cannot do for family. If there is one thing that this pandemic has taught humankind, it is to realize who are the people that actually matter most. COVID-19 may have taken so much from humankind, but if you look closer, it actually just stripped us off the extravagance and left us with what was supposed to be our core — humanity.
I like to believe that the reason why we are still here despite everything is because majority of us chose to be humane; help each other when we needed it most. Kept everyone we loved safe by staying away from each other. It made us realize what we can and cannot live without.
This was such a long read. I know I am all over the place. I have not written in such a long time. I am here now. This is my comeback piece. I am alive, tired but grateful.
Stay safe and stay home, Juri.