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Losing a parent during the pandemic [1 of 3]

"When this year started I felt good about it. I had just turned 44 years old. It felt that my hard work had started to pay off. I was enthused about teaching that I do for a living, my daughter was doing well in JC and my parents were keeping good health. In January when the news of the pandemic first surfaced, it seemed that we would not be so affected but by April the circuit breaker made me a little apprehensive as my work was affected. Considering it a minor hiccup I used the time to update my skills. On June 19th I felt that the worst was over. It seemed like the rest of the year would be smooth sailing until the morning of Singapore's 55th Birthday. I was ready to take part in the virtual celebrations when I received a fateful call from my mum. "Dad wasn't responding", she said. We tried to talk to him, keep trying to wake him up to no no avail. An ambulance was called, we kept our fingers crossed, hoped for a miracle. The doctor confirmed our worst fears, dad had had a Intracerebral Hemorrhage. His brain was shutting down. I couldn't wrap my head around what had happened. How could I travel, how would I see him, were there any flights, what about quarantine....???? Tonnes of qustions swirled, I had no answers. The first step was to head to India, taking permission from the embassy. All right, then head to the airport. Changi was like a ghost town, travel was a night mare with masks, PPE suits, travel from airport to hospital in the dead of night in a prepaid taxi but all the time the prayer was for a miracle. I couldn't visit him at the hospital as I was supposed to hunker down and quarantine. I focused my attention to find some hope but all the doctors had no solution. The bleed was too intense, he would not survive. The decision to remove life support gave my mum and me nightmares but it had to be taken and on 14th August my dad was gone forever. I would never see him, speak to him, never see him smile. In the midst of a pandemic we brought him home, kept the numbers down as we tried to include family and friends in his final journey. This pandemic seemed alien and I thought I would be safe from it as long as we took care. However it dealt the biggest blow, I wasn't able to see my dad before he left me. It will be always one of the saddest years and Covid 19 made everything worse. I am unable to bring my mum with me and I am back in Singapore riding out another 14 days of quarantine. Sleep eludes me. Nights are terrifying. What news will I wake up to..."--Contributed by Anoo Manoj, as part of the "Documenting COVID-19 in Singapore" collection community call.

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All rights reserved. Anoo Manoj, 2020


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