Sometimes it feels like this lockdown will never end.
Its been roughly six weeks since the UK imposed measures that essentially robbed life of any semblance of normalcy. Since then, we’ve all been trying our damnedest to keep our spirits up even as we become increasingly isolated from our fellow man.
Every day there seems to be new challenges cropping up on social media (like doing 20 press-ups on your instagram story and then challenging five other people to do the same) or an at-home concert organised by one pop star or the other, and what both those things have in common is that it speaks to our inherent need to stay connected even as social distancing becomes the new normal.
I might just be speaking for myself here, but I think this unprecedented crisis has heightened our sense of empathy and compassion for others. All of a sudden the number of people showing support for the NHS and recognising the work that carers do has increased tenfold. Young people now go out of their way to buy groceries for elderly neighbours. Colleagues who don’t normally get along have learned to put their differences aside so they can work together and do what’s best for the department they work for.
Personally, what this pandemic is teaching me, above all else, is that in times of pain and suffering no one is a stranger.
This week another nurse lost the battle to Covid-19, three weeks after his admission to one of the best hospitals in the country. He was my age.
Like me, he was an overseas nurse who left the Philippines to pursue a career in a foreign country, in the hopes that it will lead to a better life for himself and his family.
Like most of my friends, he dreamed of opportunities and adventures the likes of which we never would have experienced if we stayed in the Philippines.
Like tens of thousands of Filipinos before him, he bore the loneliness, the frequent homesickness, and the separation from family because he believed his future laid here, in his adopted country.
When I heard about the story of his death, I cried like a baby.
Despite having plenty of common friends, in every sense of the word this person was a virtual stranger to me. And yet his death affected me to a degree that goes beyond what you would normally feel for someone you didn’t know from Adam.
Maybe his story hit a little too close to home. I don’t want to dwell too much on how his story could so easily be our story, because that kind of thinking is just too morbid to contemplate. But all the same, on the day of his death I said a little prayer for every overseas Filipino nurse I know, and even for those that I don’t.
I’m not really sure how to end this post that has turned out to be more morose than I intended it to be when I first started writing.
I guess I just wanted to say that the longer this goes on, the deeper we may have to dig within ourselves to stay upbeat and positive.
But we can’t let this virus defeat us. I have every hope that this too shall pass, that there is a life waiting on the other side of this pandemic, and that we will all be better, more understanding, and hopefully kinder people for having lived through it.
We owe it to the people who have lost their lives to this virus, and especially to the people who have given their lives in caring for people with this virus, to ensure that we never ever take that life for granted.