April 20, 2021 by Stephen Bentley
RIP Mama – A Filipino Covid Story
The following RIP Mama story is entirely fictional, but it is based on a true story. It happened in the Philippines and not too many miles distant from me and my family.
Its purpose is hopefully to remind all concerned that Covid-19 is still rampant and causing deaths in many Filipino communities. I was prompted to write it on learning of the death of an elderly lady, a Mama to many children, after she was infected at a family gathering.
Only a few short months ago the family decided to organise the family gathering to celebrate a milestone in someone’s life unaware that gathering was destined to end all future milestones for the matriarch of the large family.
There seemed to be an air of optimism in the country as vaccines started to roll out in many foreign places and steps were being put in place to commence local vaccination programmes in many barangays throughout the Philippines.
This pandemic had sadly deceived many in the community. “It’s safe now. No need for social distancing or face masks. We can now have a party and invite all the family and some friends to our home,” was the collective wisdom or so they thought.
The preparations were made. The streamers and balloons adorned the house. The cooks got busy with all the favourite Filipino foods and the lechon was arranged. There was much soda for the kids and Red Horse beer and Tanduay liquor for the adults. The tables groaned with the weight of all that food. The scene was now set for the pictorials, a totally necessary photo-taking session so beloved of Filipinos.
This Filipino family, like all others, loved social gatherings. It’s part of the Filipino psyche. The masks were discarded for the photos and soon everyone was kissing and hugging as they rejoiced in the warm love of familial blessings.
What they could not see were those deadly droplets in the atmosphere on their search-and-destroy mission which is one method of how the Covid-19 virus transmits from one human to another. The virus did not care. It needed to spread, and it did spread. Several of the adults at this family gathering succumbed to it; were diagnosed with it; felt ill for several days with it. The younger adults survived.
Poor Mama did not. RIP Mama.
After Mama’s death, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Too late, aking Mga kaibigan.
The moral of the story is obvious. The pandemic is NOT over. It is still vitally important to social distance, use face masks, follow all the DOH advice, and avoid large gatherings no matter if family or not.Follow Me On Social Media