Despite losing mom to COVID-19, Chanda chooses to see the silver lining
For Christmas, Chanda Romero’s wish is to be able to fly to Cebu to pay her respects to her late mother, who died of COVID-19.
“I haven’t been to Cebu since the pandemic started … I hope I can go back and visit her. That’s what I’m wishing for,” the veteran actress, who’s based in Manila, told the Inquirer in a recent virtual conference for the GMA 7 drama series “Prima Donnas.”
Her mother, Remedios Romero, tested positive for the coronavirus last June and passed away the following month—this despite showing encouraging signs of recovery later on.
Envisioning her mother’s final moments is painful, Chanda said. “I could only imagine how lonely her death was, because she was all alone. There was no one to hold her hand or watch over her, not even through a window,” said Chanda, who actually had made arrangements to disinfect her mother’s house, because the latter was about to be discharged at one point.
“What I have realized is that I have become more conscious of our mortality,” she added. “If it’s our time to go … if He wills for us to go back to Him, then He will take you. And there’s nothing we can do about it.”
But in her sorrow, Chanda still tries to find a silver lining. “I just have to be grateful that she suffered only for a short time. Because she may have had, in another scenario, gotten cancer and deteriorated for years,” she surmised.
While still in mourning, Chanda wouldn’t let grief take over her. After all, the pandemic isn’t over and she needs to take care of herself and her loved ones.
“I can’t let this loss define all my days … What I took away from this is that there’s always something good, no matter how bad the situation is. You can’t let yourself be buried in something tragic, in the loss of life or a loved one,” she said.
Asked how she has been dealing with life amid the pandemic, Chanda said things were manageable, because she and husband, Mayi Alejandrino, don’t have kids. “Life can’t stop. We don’t have house help, so I have to buy groceries and necessities,” she said, adding she dutifully follows safety protocols.
“I do whatever it takes to be safe, and my husband does the same. I don’t go out unnecessarily. We’re doing our part as responsible citizens to stop the spread of the virus and not make the situation worse than it already is.”
Chanda is looking forward to the coming lock-in tapings for “Prima Donnas,” where she plays Lady Primarosa Claveria. She’s still in “a state of disbelief” that they finally got the show back on track.
“All thanks to months of effort from the production staff. For many agonizing months, we feared this series may not pull through because of the millions of details we had to meet. But now, I’m very grateful we’re still working and that things are currently going smoothly,” she said.
“The pandemic has really turned around everyone’s lives. But we did pull out some good things. It’s just that you have to have a full heart to be able to thank the Lord and feel blessed to still be working,” she added.
Chanda admitted that she feared that her character could be written off, because senior citizens like her are deemed to be at bigger risk of catching COVID-19.
“For a while, we were on shaky ground … But then again, that shouldn’t be the case because I’m healthy as a mule at 66!” she jested. “A resume these days now consists of X-ray plates and medical results!”
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