Today's article is actually a follow-up on what I wrote on this column two weeks ago. At that time, my father, Daddy as my sister and I fondly called him, was diagnosed with COVID-19 and was rushed to a private hospital in Laguna. He was intubated and was fighting for his life when that article appeared on this column two weeks ago.

Sadly, Daddy succumbed to COVID-19 last September 7, 2021. Severe COVID-19 was too much for him that it affected not only his lungs but also his internal organs. Only his private duty nurse was present at present during his last moments, as my sister and I could not be at the hospital for health and safety reasons.

Daddy's passing, especially with COVID-19 causing his death, is painful for me and my sister. After our mother, Mommy as we called her, died of a stroke at age 45 in 1998, Daddy raised my sister and I by himself. He was not a perfect father, but he provided for our needs and looked after us, even if we already reached adulthood. My sister and especially myself are still grieving over Daddy's passing and still in the process of absorbing things, especially the new reality that we are now orphans left to take care of each other.

COVID-19 is real and a brutal disease. Through photos and videos sent by his private duty nurse in order to keep us updated, I saw what it did to Daddy, as it severely affected not only his lungs but also his other internal organs. It did not help that Daddy had comorbidities such as diabetes and was not yet vaccinated at the time when he contracted the disease.

COVID-19 is also brutal to the family members of the person who contracted the disease. During Daddy's hospitalization and last moments, my sister and I were not present due to health and safety protocols being implemented by hospital management, It is even more painful for me because I could not travel to Laguna, where Daddy resided and where my sister and her family are residing, because of my own serious health conditions that put me on a high risk of contracting COVID-19.

In terms of finances, COVID-19 is an expensive disease. Daddy's hospital bills reached almost one million pesos. Our family was desperately looking for ways to raise much needed funds to pay for Daddy's hospitalization and treatment because we wanted him to win against COVID-19 and live a longer life. Even now that Daddy already passed on, we are still looking for ways to recover financially.

On that note, I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who helped Daddy and our family during this very difficult time. From Daddy's fraternal brothers to Daddy's high school friends and schoolmates to our family friends and other relatives to my sister's friends and my friends to random strangers who responded to our plea for help, I would like to thank all of them for the assistance that they extended to Daddy and our family. I do not know how to express gratitude to all of you and I will be forever grateful to the help and kindness that have been extended to Daddy and our family.

To my sister, always remember that I am here for you. I may be living in another part of the country but you know how to reach me. I will always love you and your family.

Finally, to Daddy, thank you for everything. I may have decided to live in the city for good but you were and are still in my heart and mind. Our relationship was not perfect but I am forever grateful to you for providing for me and looking after me. I will always love you, Daddy. Now, you and Mommy are finally together to watch over us and always be with us in spirit.


About the Author
Benedict is an agricultural economist, academician and writer. He has gained experience and expertise in various fields of economics, business, political science and public relations after through professional ventures in the academe, and in the public and private sectors. He has authored or co-authored key publications on topics ranging from agriculture and food security to global affairs and politics.
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