Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Dear Survivor

Dear Survivor,


Good luck. You have another deadline to beat. I just hope the right thoughts and your drive to write will meet and have enough time to have sense.


It’s been more than a year that you are doing the daily rituals that you never imagined would last this long: wake-up, cook, eat, work, work out (if work permits), watch Netflix and sleep. This is not the life that you look forward every day.


You feel so old that the only hair you notice growing are the ones inside your ears and nose. You are beginning to be lazy that you sometimes just let the plates clean themselves in the kitchen sink, with the little help from your pets or pests (whoever get there first). You just want to lie down all day in your dirty white sando and unironed boxers just because you can, but you can’t because there are a lot of things to be done.


Welcome to the world of work-from-home professionals.


At the beginning, you did think that this new work set-up will be a walk in the park but as months passes by, there are moments you feel like running away from it. It was a struggle when problems one after the other started to file up. You were like a frantic cat entangled in a ball of yarn that you were enjoying a while ago. Personal issues got mixed up with work stresses and you feel like you have so little time and limited space to resolved them.


In moments like these, you crave for your Nanay Conchit’s hot delicious bowl of Sinigang na Baboy. A taste of it gives you that instant wonderful feeling like when you experience first kiss, pass Algebra, got your first check, or finally getting your turn in the comfort room after a long line of holding something in your tummy for hours. Success! The taste of small victory, indeed (apologies if you are having a meal while reading this).


But the thing is, Nanay passed away a few months before the pandemic. So, there is no more bowl of the best soup in the whole world for you. A reality that you are still dealing with up to this day and maybe until forever. Friends would advise you that you can talk to her now anytime you want because she is now an angel always watching over you. But talking to your mother through prayers is not comparable to your mother who laughs back on your jokes and silliness. Not even an inch close. Imagine longing for someone’s hug but she could not come to you… forever.


Before the pandemic, you are someone who has a lot of dreams for yourself but things changed when a lot of people close to you and should be part of those dreams left unexpectedly and untimely. You lost cousins, classmates, friends and other people you cared for during the span of less than a year. You did not even had the chance to give your final respect to them because of the health risk. Then every day you would see people on your Facebook friends list either asking for prayers and help or changing their profile pictures into a plain sad black image.


It struck fear not only in your heart but also in your mind. What if the next one will be you? Who will take care of your family? These are the things that are running in your head while you were being guided by a nurse towards the 2D Echo room, it was your first time and you are only in my early forties. A scary chapter of your life indeed.


Well at least you have lived to see your son Charles celebrate his first ever lockdown birthday before he becomes a teen next year plus his grade school graduation. It seems that you improved to be a better dad as you simultaneously hurdled virtual meetings and managing all the distractions (from your high-pitch chickens to fighting dogs and deaf karaoke-loving neighbours to the carpenters working next doors).


While you can’t resists helping out your son in finishing some seat works as you missed grade 6 history lessons, your kid has to endure some Dad jokes that was supposed to be delivered to your officemates during lunch time in your company pantry. Well, there were no fan intended so Charles became an unwilling victim.


You also learned to be more patient and wear smile at all cost because with all the uncertainties around us, maintaining a happy environment is the least that you can do.


Your wife Leah has been your rock despite being petite and gentle with her ways. She has been your constant reminder that you are not alone in all the challenges you are facing now.


While problems continue to pour in, find the light in small victories or little miracles that you receive each day like being able to fit in a size medium shirt, finding a long lost wrist watch from a box of mementos or receiving my first dose of vaccine just a few days after registering for COVID-19 protection.


There are problems that you just can't share to others yet and these could be the biggest rocks you are carrying on your shoulders. Don’t lose hope easily. It’s the best weapon that can make you strong to carry on. Glimpse of courage and faith can overcome even the biggest fears in life.


Get rid of your worries in beating the deadlines in your life. Take it easy one day at a time and enjoy the beauty and wonders of living with the people who makes every morning worth waking up. Dear Survivor… you will win this battle!


This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor”. The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis.  The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2 is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications and Jobstreet as co-presenters, with AirAsia and Xiaomi as major sponsors, and with Teleperformance as sponsor.