Covid-19 is the Grim Reaper these days, harvesting the lives of people who could have lived longer.
Facebook is abound with announcements of deaths. A user of the social media platform could learn about the passing of the loved ones of friends or contacts if their profile pictures have been changed to an image of plain black or an image of a burning candle in the dark. These images are symbols of mourning.
Surviving the pandemic is the ultimate agenda for people who wish to see more years on the planet. Denying the existence of the novel coronavirus that has since mutated just invites ill health or, worse, death. Faith could strengthen a person’s resolve to press on with life. One could also be inspired by individuals who radiate optimism and hope, not pessimism and despair.
A supercentenarian from Kabankalan, Negros Occidental is an epitome of optimism. She is Francisca “Isca” Susano, who, according to news accounts, turned 124 on Sept. 11, 2021. The Guinness World Records Organization has yet to officially recognize Susano as the world’s oldest living person.
Susano’s life predates the declaration of the Philippine Independence from the Spanish Empire on June 12, 1898. She was barely a year old when the first Philippine President Emilio Aguinaldo waved the flag from his house in Cavite.
Susano also survived the 1918 flu pandemic, which lasted for over two years. Two world wars occurred and ended before she reached the age of 50.
Living a healthy lifestyle is the main reason for a person to reach 100 years. For Susano, luck could have played a part in extending her life beyond the centennial mark. (According to the World Health Organization report published in 2020, the Philippines ranked 123rd in world life expectancy. The average life expectancy for Filipino males is 66.2 and for females, 72.6.)
A party-list representative for senior citizens has filed a resolution congratulating Susano and urging the House of Representatives to grant her P1 million as an incentive for being a supercentenarian. The lawmaker is also determined to protect Susano against Covid-19.
Susano’s existence is proof that humanity has the will to survive.
Susano is the human equivalent of hope. Grim Reaper, stand down.