His face had been blazing red for days. His fever wasn’t going away either. Later on, he lost his appetite. We suspected that he had COVID-19 even before the test result confirmed it.
We thought he could recover on his own at home, with some medicines and rest. However, the volume of his unending coughing only kept increasing until we could no longer quell our most dreadful fears. On the starless night of Feb. 17, we called the ambulance.
At the hospital, we found out our 63-year-old father had developed pneumonia.
I felt like I had been unjustly launched right into the middle of a horror film. The uncertainty was gnawing away at my soul. Instead of falling asleep, I fell into a boundless hole of despair.
I found solace in music. At a time when I could hardly translate what I felt into words, the melodies and lyrics of distant singers were able to do the work for me. At a time when fears haunted me each night, it was only by listening to music that I could drown them all out.
This is the story of how my family conquered COVID-19, along with the songs that soothed us in the midst of the grueling battle.
“I miss you…you know it all. You’re my best friend.” These lines come from the 2017 song “Spring Day” by BTS. It is about the crushing grief that comes after suddenly losing a loved one.
I kept on thinking about everything I had ever said to my father. I told him everything, from my dreams at night to my hopes for the future. I told him I loved him every day. I always did my best to forgive him for being forgetful or clumsy. As his daughter, did I do my best to help make his life better? I desperately hoped so.
“I’m ready to let go.” I couldn’t stop listening to “Let Go” by BTS for days. The melancholic melody seemed to perfectly reflect everything that I felt. A part of me wondered if I could let go. My answer was no.
“Lord, please help my dad. I still need him. If I lose him, I’ll lose everything,” I prayed over and over again.
My entire family got tested for COVID-19 the day after we discovered that my father was infected. Our results had not yet arrived when my mother went to the hospital for a check-up. The doctors said she was probably infected, and she was confined to a room near my father. I was devastated.
While my parents were in the hospital, I couldn’t care about anything else. I just wanted them to recover well and quickly. I just wanted us all to be happier. A few days later, our entire family’s COVID-19 test results finally arrived. Out of my four older siblings, two were infected. The results confirmed that my mother was also positive.
We launched into action. My two infected sisters locked themselves in a bedroom. We left food and jugs of water outside their door. Our house was the quietest it had ever been.
But we weren’t alone throughout all of this. Countless people sent comforting messages. Others helped us contact the barangay, the hospital, and anyone else we needed. Friends and family sent all sorts of meals from chicken adobo to pasta to fresh bread. Our hearts, along with our refrigerator, were always full.
Even if my remaining two siblings and I weren’t sick, we were not allowed to leave the house, so the staff from our neighborhood dropped off packages outside our front door. They also left medicines and groceries for us. I always felt an overflowing surge of gratitude as I listened to their footsteps fade away after dropping off the deliveries.
“On my pillow, on my table, yeah life goes on like this again.” These lyrics come from the song “Life Goes On” by BTS. It’s about how some things have remained constant no matter the frightening events unfolding all around us due to the pandemic. We still need to sleep and eat. We still need to keep going. Life goes on.
Even if it felt as if everything was crashing down around me, I still had to accomplish work for school. I still had to tend to house chores even if I felt like it was all pointless compared to everything else that was happening. “So what if the floor is dusty? It won’t save my parents!” I thought. We still had to sleep, although it was difficult to do so. We still had to eat. Life had to go on.
My mother finally arrived home after spending four days in the hospital. My father arrived home the next day.
Life went on. One by one, my sick family members recovered.
What did I learn from this difficult experience? Never play down the terrible threat of COVID-19. Pray faithfully. You’re never alone with your struggles, and never underestimate the power of music.