First, the more than 250,000 who died of COVID. We, as a people, never expected this. Epidemics are things that happen in other places, to other people. We’re a modern nation. We somehow believe we’re “safe” here. That even if we do get sick, modern medicine can heal us. (Newsflash, God heals; medicine treats.)
Let’s hold space for those who died because they were unable to access health care for other maladies. Those who died because important procedures were delayed or cancelled. Those who were afraid to go to the hospital when they needed to, and missed out on life-saving treatment.
Let us remember those who succumbed to suicide and drug overdose, during this stressful time of hopelessness.
Be mindful, even, of the expected deaths, whether from old age or terminal illness, those who spent their last days/weeks alone, because loved ones weren’t permitted to hold their hand and ease their passage.
We must recognize that America is grieving. We’ve lost so many of the unique individuals that make up our amazing country. Grief is hard. Grief comes with many emotions. We’re cranky due to grief.
The fear, anger, and divisiveness we’re seeing online is magnified because for many of us, it’s our only human interaction outside our household. Online interactions have always had the potential to become confrontational, due to the lack of voice inflection and body language. We can’t read each other’s intent, we can only read their words, and we’re not always careful with our words. But in the pre-COVID world, online interactions were a smaller part of our social life. Now, they’re almost the entirety. I can’t dilute the online strife with chatting with other moms at the park about homeschooling. I can’t forget the pandemic by laughing with a fellow volunteer at Book Den over a hilarious title that comes across our sorting table. I’m not getting the weekly puppy kisses and grateful thank yous from volunteering at the animal vaccine clinic. I miss the elation of participating in a 5K race with hundreds of other people.
At a time when we should be drawing closer together, our leader is fueling the divisiveness. Instead of graciously bowing out, and wishing us all the best, he’s practically clawing at the columns to hold on to the White House.
Let’s take a moment of silence for all the lives lost this year. Then another moment for the less tangible things we’ve lost. Because mask/no mask, Trump/no Trump, open up/shut down, we’ve somehow created a culture where it’s okay to attack and disparage our friends. And that grieves me, too. Like I always tell my kids, “Be kind humans.”