This is my first article for this year 2021. I just got back from the land where I was born – the Philippines, and is currently spending my time in quarantine. I still have nine more days to go before I graduate from this mandatory 14 days quarantine here in Canada. Me and my sister braved the pandemic and flew to the Philippines to visit our Mom, to celebrate her birthday on the 7th of December and to celebrate Christmas together with a few of our relatives and friends. Why travel at this time of pandemic? Our Dad died last August 2020. It was the worst phase of pandemic and travel was banned around the world. Our mother mourned alone without her children. This time we decided that we will visit our Mom and figure out a way to visit her come what may. But as the Bible says, we can make all plans but in the end it is the Lord’s purpose which will prevail. “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” Proverbs 19:21
We arrived separately. My sister arrived in the Philippines on November 20, 2020 straight from Heathrow Airport. I arrived the next day. Before we were allowed to enter the country we should have dual citizenship document (Oath taking certificate with picture and thumb marks) or Philippine passport, have a hotel booking for at least 3 to 5 days where we should stay while waiting for our Covid-19 test results, pay for all these expenses (the Covid testing and the hotel booking) and pray that results would be negative.
I am a Filipino-Canadian holding a Canadian passport with dual citizenship documents and my sister applied for a Philippine passport which she received prior to her departure – one requirement checked. My sister booked a separate hotel room for us near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. We had to book online the mandatory throat swabbing after landing which was done inside the NAIA before we were able to go through immigration. The travel and the new airport procedures were so exhausting that I kept on saying to myself that may God forbid me to go through this again, however God has other plans. I had to undergo the horrendous throat swabbing again 72 hrs prior to my flight back to Canada and had to report to the government everyday for the rest of my 14 days quarantine period. The Lord is taking very good care of me so I am keeping my calm. To carry on, after passing through immigration I went straight to the hotel and waited for only 10 hours. The results were released quickly ( I heard some results take weeks ) through e-mails and we were given certificates that we were ( and still are, thank you Lord! ) Covid-19 negative. We were allowed to go home after 3 days and 2 nights but we still had to undergo 14 days quarantine when we reached Quezon Province.
At this point in time, let me cut the story short. Our Mom was taken to the emergency hospital in Quezon for she was really sick and getting worse. She was then transferred to a hospital in Greater Manila Area and was under isolation for 3 days for observation and for the result of her Covid Test. Too many millilitres of blood were taken from her veins for lab. exams not to mention the x-rays, CT scans and 2D echo – these are medical procedures, forgive me for not going into details anymore.
Multiple Organ Failure – cause of death. My mother after barely four months, followed my father and rested in peace. We were able to celebrate her birthday after she was taken out of the ER isolation ( the result of Covid test was negative same as my father who was also tested while still in the hospital ) but she was on a semi-comatose state already. She passed away just a week after her birthday, on the 14th of December. She was 80 years old.
Losing a person you love is sad enough. But losing two individuals, especially if they are your parents, this is sadder. I could be more dramatic and use the word “devastating” but I learned that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. After all the planning and executing our strategies on how to travel to the Philippines to spend happy moments with her, the Lord’s purpose for our travel prevailed. God’s thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways. He knows about the future, I do not. I may not understand what is going on right now, why these things or events are happening but I believe in my heart that all things work together for good. “ And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
And so I grieved with hope and found these verses from Isaiah which comforted me. “Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever…” Isaiah 9:1. “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in the land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” Isaiah 9:2. “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counsellor, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen.” Isaiah 9:6-7.
Jesus Christ is coming soon. And when He comes He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)