Uncertainties of tomorrow: My take

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought immeasurable pain and sorrow to the world since its birth. While we have now learned that it was “discovered” in Wuhan, China the last quarter of 2019, we in the Philippines actually imbibed its deadly character only during the early months of 2020. The daily news of death in many countries started to sow fear among Filipinos, especially when the national government announced the start of local checkpoints and lockdowns, including closures of establishments and mandatory stay-at-home policy that prevented many people from going to their jobs, except law enforcers and health-related workers.

In March of that year, my high school batch of 1968 was supposed to have a reunion -- our 52nd anniversary -- in the new home (in our province of Laguna) of one of our former classmates, an American citizen and retired nurse from L.A., California, who was in town to host it. Everyone in our batch was preparing for it already. We planned to have a “fiesta” of good native food and a full day of fun activities, with dancing, singing, and games. I was assigned to collect contributions to cover expenses, which we estimated to be about $1,500 or so. All our plans went to naught, as expected, and we -- the ‘68 Batch of Pedro Guevara Memorial High School -- for the first time tasted one of the bitter effects of Covid-19. We’re not sure whether or not we’d be able to hold another reunion. The uncertainty of it is certain.

On the personal front, my brother Rick (an American citizen from Illinois) who was then vacationing in my house in Laguna, was scheduled to go back to the US early March via South Korea. Due to the high incidence of Covid infections in that country, however, he decided to cancel his trip and take another flight on a later date. His stress was so high, and it was painful to see him struggling whether or not to go back to the US. Getting a private vehicle to take him to Manila was also a big problem then, as military and police checkpoints were everywhere to make sure no one leaves or gets into every town. When the government permitted limited flights for abroad, Rick decided to leave, his concern mostly was his home in Glenview and the medical checkups his doctors scheduled for him months before he took his Asian vacation. He left the Philippines for the US in March 25th, 2020. He left his big suitcase and just carried a backpack because he was planning to get back soon to marry his sweetheart (a high school batchmate of his). Since then, he hasn’t come back. It’s been almost two years, and all his plans went to naught. He even told me two nights ago that he isn’t sure whether or not he’d come back to the Philippines soon. The uncertainty of it is certain.

Summer here in the Philippines usually starts latter part of March until May, and school ends late March or early April. Every year since I came to reside in Laguna in 2015, my grandson Deejay (son of my youngest son Dennis) enjoyed spending his entire summer with me, and I enrolled him in a music studio to learn some instruments. In 2019, he learned how to play the ukelele, and our family truly loved to hear him play songs like “I’m Yours” and “Happy Birthday”. For 2020, I planned to enrol him in the same music school to learn how to play the guitar or the keyboard. Deejay was very excited and antsy to come over in early April after school, but with the pandemic fully raging everywhere, our plans came to naught. Since his ukelele recital in May 2019, I haven’t seen my beloved grandson in person. I don’t know whether or not Deejay can even visit me. The uncertainty of it is certain. When vaccinations against Covid-19 came, Filipinos became hopeful that more lives would be saved and that life would be a bit normal, especially for those whose livelihood depends on jobs that require them to be outside their homes. I can’t disagree with employers who now require their employees to be vaccinated, because statistics here reveal that 80 percent or more of Covid patients are unvaccinated. I can’t disagree with establishments that require vaccination cards for customers and their workers, because the uncertainty of whether or not one gets infected while real, shouldn’t be taken for granted. Better to be on the safe side.

All of us in my family (my three kids and their families) have been vaccinated, except my grandson, Deejay, who is only 10 years old. Our mobility, although limited when Alert Level is up, may be considered acceptable, because we can go to get food and medicines, go to the bank, and see our family doctor if necessary. As a senior citizen and “partly” retired, I am at home most of the time, just doing gardening work and beautifying my grotto. I also focus on videoke singing, watching movies, and playing my keyboard. While I miss ballroom dancing and zumba sessions with friends, I have learned to accept today’s reality, that we can’t have everything.

There is one certain thing, though. The Lord has been present all these 70 years in my life. He has been blessing me and answering my prayers for the good health, long and happy life of my children, their families (spouses and grandchildren) my siblings my best friends, friends, and all their loved ones. My Grotto (of Mama Mary) has been my daily refuge because I believe that Mother Mary is my strongest intercessor to God, the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

We may have different spiritual beliefs, but to me, the uncertainty of the future is immaterial, as long as I know someone up there loves me and cares for me today and beyond. That is certain.