By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
October 2020 would have a busy and great month for our family. Since late last year, we have been looking forward to this time. My husband was scheduled to attend a conference in Nice, France and he wanted to bring us, his family, along with him as a gift for me on my 35th and our daughter’s fifth birthday. Nice, France and the French Riviera have always been on our bucket list. We also wanted to visit the city of Cannes and the small but rich country of Monaco. Crossing the border and adding Italy to the countries we have visited was also part of our plans. We watched videos about these wonderful places and we have been preparing the documents needed to apply for another Schengen visa. But all the excitement and hopeful expectation have come to naught because the COVID-19 pandemic ruined everything. It would have been one of the best birthday celebrations my daughter and I will ever have but for now, the only thing we can do is dream.
COVID-19 has taken away so many things. But ours is just a ruined plan.
For some friends of mine and many more families, this cruel virus has taken away mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters. For my brother and many of my friends around the world, COVID-19 has stolen their source of income; their livelihood. For many, this pandemic has slain dreams and swept away hope.
Our Nice escapade and our grand birthday celebration may have been put on hold but seeing the people around me who are suffering and listening to the plights and pains of those badly affected, I couldn’t help but be grateful that I am still able to breathe and to dream. This pandemic has caused me to wake up each day grateful to have been given a new day to enjoy, and the opportunity to be with family whom I dearly love. South Korea is celebrating its Thanksgiving Holiday this month. Thanksgiving for me has taken a whole new meaning. Realizing the futility of life has taught me to be grateful for things that really matter – life and relationships. To be able to travel and reach goals and dreams are just definitely good but they are just extras and they are nothing compared to the gift of life, family and friends.
There are many moments I catch myself asking, what if COVID-19 never happened? What would 2020 be like? Most probably, just like any other year, it would have been business as usual. Airports are busy with people traveling to different parts of the world. Streets are flooded with honking cars and busy people walking. Malls are crowded with busy shoppers. Families are still complete and filling homes with laughter. Birthdays, weddings and special occasions are celebrated and looked forward to by families and friends.
Many businesses are flourishing. Tourism is booming. As for our family, we would have been busy preparing for our travel to Nice. What if COVID-19 never happened? We can only assume but it will never be answered because the virus entered and ravaged homes, caused economies to collapse, shook countries and changed the world’s landscape.
The pandemic may have ruined our lives, but it has given humanity something that we can be grateful for – a deeper understanding of unity and survival. This unseen enemy has wounded humanity severely but we are proving time and time again that we are survivors. We are victorious over everything the world throws at us. Looking at how nations have been helping each other and communities uniting to fight off the deadly virus, it gives me hope that the time will come the COVID-19 pandemic will just be a part of our history books. I look forward to the day I will no longer write about the pandemic in the present tense, but it will just be a memoir of 2020, remembering how we, as humanity, fought a deadly virus and won in the end.
But the war is from over. Winning is still a distant dream. But let’s keep dreaming. Let’s keep hoping. Let’s keep fighting.
October would have been a great month. Oh, let me change that. It will be a great month. It is a great month not just because I am blessed with another year and we get to celebrate the five years that God has given us a beautiful daughter, but also it’s a wonderful month because we still get to dream, hope, love and breathe. It’s more than enough to celebrate. Our hope may have been deferred, but we are not disappointed.