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Coping in the time of COVID-19: Just don’t give up

By JOANNE RAE M. RAMIREZ, The Philippine STAR Published Aug 17, 2021 6:00 am

The second “hard” lockdown of 2021 is no less devastating for many of us, especially those who have lost loved ones.

The survivors, the bereaved, and those who have been spared the wrath of COVID-19 learn to cope, learn to move on. Learn to survive.

Fr.Dave Concepcion, of the Sta. Maria Goretti Parish, shared during a recent homily: “Don’t give up. Never give up. Take time to rest. Take time to eat. Take time to sleep. Remove the things that cause your tiredness and frustration.

If the pandemic were a deep ocean, we now know what lies beneath. The past year has taught us how to stay afloat.

“You are never in control and you will never be in control. If you cannot fly, just keep on running, if you cannot run, just keep on walking; if you cannot walk, crawl. Just never stop.”

Don’t give up. Go on.

For us who will have to learn to crawl through this lockdown, and perhaps more lockdowns in the future, I have learned:

Faith helps us cope

The Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diazhas been quoted as saying God is the ultimate weightlifter, lifting her up when she most needed a boost.

Take up something new

A cousin has started a successful business reviving the lost art of crochet. She named her startup: “Off the Hook by Karen.”

I also started to bake again after a hiatus of almost 25 years, starting from scratch. My home oven has churned out golden loaves of bread, which I have christened “JLoaves” upon the brilliant suggestion of a colleague. To my joy, friends and friends of friends have ordered several loaves for their homes. It takes a village to help a startup – crawl, walk, then run.

The fear of the unknown is no longer there

We already know how it’s like. We know which of our worst fears can be realized. We know which practices and notions are exaggerated.

There is still that valid daily fear of catching the virus, especially the more contagious Delta variant — but it is no longer the fear of the unknown. We know, so we become more vigilant.

Don’t feel guilty about not being busy. Don’t feel guilty you binge on K-Drama. Don’t feel guilty that you buy lipstick even if you cannot put it on now.

If the pandemic were a deep ocean, we now know what lies beneath. The past year has taught us how to stay afloat. We plan our essential trips out of the house. We do online transactions. Manufacturers now churn out an adequate supply of Vitamin C and face masks — essentials that flew off the shelves during the first lockdown are no longer out of stock for now.

Thank God for vaccines

Statistics show even the fully vaccinated can get COVID-19, but statistics also show the vaccinated are less prone to its severe symptoms. My colleague STAR columnist Büm D. Tenorio Jr.attests to this.

A pharmacist prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine. AFP photo


Don’t feel guilty about not being busy. Don’t feel guilty you binge on K-Drama. Don’t feel guilty that you buy lipstick even if you cannot put it on now. It’s the sale of lipstick that is the barometer for feel-good times.

Don’t postpone happiness – and trips. Even a week’s delay can spell the difference between freedom and lockdown. A planned trip to Boracay early this year didn’t push through because I dilly-dallied and another planned trip, reservation paid, to Baguio this month was shelved as well.

Fix your dining table like you were expecting royalty — family is royalty

Be a plantita and aplatita.

Take care of your own frontliners at home and in the office

They are your lifesavers, too, in the seemingly unfathomable depths of COVID.

Find love in the time of COVID

Kris Aquino has, and based on her Instagram account, she and former DILG Secretary Mel Senen Sarmientoare very happy. One of my former classmates shared this on our Viber thread (CTTO): “Faith makes everything possible. Hope makes everything work. Love makes everything beautiful.”

Keep in touch

Keep in touch with friends and relatives via Zoom or audio calls, especially when they have joy to share and sorrow to unburden.

Keep in touch with friends and relatives.

Find joy in work

Work is a blessing, an enabler for your dreams. “Work makes the dream.” Love your deadlines, love interacting with your clients, love scanning bar codes on the checkout counter, and love saving lives. There really are heroes amongst us who get up each morning to man the Emergency Rooms in the hospitals, or deliver babies — especially when no one else can do the job but them.

This, too, shall pass

And as Fr. Dave said in his homily, don’t give up. I found out, during a visit to the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam many years ago, that the only way to reach the end of the tunnel — especially a long, arduous one — is to crawl toward it. Unless you are a bat, you cannot fly toward it. There is no headroom for you to run or walk toward the end of the tunnel. But you can crawl toward it. One inch at a time.

When it’s time to say goodbye

Death is inevitable and the death of a loved one is crushing. In the time of COVID, the death of a loved one is also complicated. When my aunt died due to cancer early this year, I discovered there are knowledgeable people who help you set up Zoom masses and novenas. And there are also those who help you give dear ones a loving sendoff.

Three sisters, Mari Bonoan Escano, Tina Bonoan, and Mailet Bonoan Ancheta, make “discreetly stylish and personalized” settings for wakes and services in the time of COVID. Formed in 2016 by the sisters, Comfortscape has adjusted to the changing times by styling altar table and home wake setups, aside from the usual wakes at funeral homes and chapels.

“It is important now, more than ever, to give a beautiful send-off and create a ‘lighter’ aura during a very somber moment,” says Mailet, who adds that her sisters and their staff are all fully vaccinated themselves.

“Creating a unique memorial to one’s life is an act of love, and Comfortscape Inc. can help achieve this; and in turn, this may even soothe the pain of those who were left behind,” concludes Mailet.