Disclaimer: all interviewee names have been changed to protect their privacy and prevent social stigma. Additionally, stories have been combined.
From the loss of businesses, loved ones, and health to suffering racism and anxiety; the Chinoy experience of the pandemic has truly been a harrowing one.
“You read stories like this in the news and think it would never happen to you,” says Warren Chang, a Chinoy college student. “I was wrong. When I lost my father to the virus, I was devastated and pretended it never happened. It took us a very long time to get over the depression, and come to terms with it.”
It has been a year of difficulty, and we are tired of hearing the endless cycle of bad news. Tired of saying “I miss you” and “Can’t wait for this to be over.” Maybe even tired of trying to stay positive.
In times like these, it helps to hear other people’s stories because it reminds us that we are not alone. Though we are far apart, we are going through this together.
Here are a few survivor stories from our community to inspire you: from a COVID-positive family to Chinoy students coping with grief and loss for the first time.
After getting the flu and other COVID-like symptoms, university student Evan Gaw had to undergo isolation for two weeks.
“When I was put in isolation, it felt quite horrible. I couldn’t leave my room or talk to anyone. My mom just brought me food every day.” Evan writes over Messenger.
To cope with isolation, he played video games and chatted with his friends, but schoolwork made it difficult to meet up often.
“I just find it sad that some profs were very inconsiderate of my situation – they didn’t even give leniency to my friends who had COVID.”
“Turns out, I didn’t even have COVID.” He recalls. “But it was still scary, thinking if I had the virus or not.”
On the other side of the fence, another student from a different university shares his story of living alone on campus.
“It’s just me in my dorm room.”
- Dealing with Loss
We’ve all lost a lot to the pandemic: years of normal life, onsite education, eating out and brisk business, just to name a few.
But how does one even begin to deal with the loss of a friend or family member?
Warren Chang pauses sadly as his screen buffers on Google Meet. “I would give anything to see papa again.”
He offers the following words for others who have lost family during this time.
“It will take a very long time. I think the most important thing is to give yourselves the time to heal. Aside from that, going through photographs and good memories helps too.”
“The best thing you can do is make sure you never forget them.”
He asks to cut the call short, and we say goodbye.
- The Family of Survivors
When the Tiu-Go family welcomed a visitor into their home a year ago, they had no idea it would lead to a “positive” experience for their family.
The visitor had COVID and infected a few of them. Unfortunately, their symptoms did not arise until the entire household was infected.
Without any knowledge of where to get testing kits, they asked for help on Facebook and were sent kits from their churchmates. When the results came back, they accepted the terrible truth and immediately went into self-isolation.
As the months went by, they began to run low on food. But due to their Facebook post, their friends sent them messages, offering to send them groceries.
A thank you post from the family reads “Just want to thank everyone who helped our family go through this tough time. Those who prayed for us, those who sent food, those who gave medical assistance and advice, those who helped us with testing. I will always remember and will always be grateful ten times over!”
It is heartwarming to know that the spirit of bayanihan is alive and well in 2021.
There is no other way to survive this except together.