Scott Hubbard Column: "Coping"
COPING. When my Mom died in 2003, my mind went numb, thoughts swirled and drifted, the world became smaller. Her health had been poor for a long, long time with a decidedly wicked turn in the last months. News of her passing wasn't a surprise yet not for a moment did I think of getting 'the call' because she'd already endured so much for so long. The call stopped up time. I had no frame of reference for this, there's no emotional road map for coping with loss of a parent. Every minute was 60 seconds of hurt, turmoil, of a feeble try at finding meaning in death, in life. Mostly I was turned inside out but soon found solace in letting thoughts and feelings go where they would. It was freeing, calming, helpful to think and feel everything, or nothing. For a while the thoughts and feelings kept circling on themselves. She was gone.
Having had COVID 19 didn't give me any special insight into the disease or how it affects others. I only knew how my own down time played out. Having dealt with it did make me more sensitive to how it affected all facets of our world, to news stories showing full hospitals, the trials of health care workers, to refrigerated trucks for the dead. Stories of families that couldn't visit loved ones in care, shortages of PPE and ventilators. Funeral homes were unable to keep up with needs for their services. Those things and more were part of an awful, dark stretch of time where wide-spread shutdowns occurred, protests erupted, people were required to wear masks, everywhere.
And there were the numbers reported daily on cases and deaths, and more people dying. Where we'd gone generations without something like this happening, we were now living in a fish bowl of sickness and restrictions, deniers and fear, grief and uncertainty. Lack of clear direction from Washington DC fomented the worst that followed. People can accept bad news but that wasn't forthcoming which would've help avert much of what's followed. This allowed the pandemic to ripple, to explode into all corners of the planet. Most or all of us know either first-hand or via others about people dying. Makes you want to cry.
The flags in the picture represent those that've died of the virus in America. This past summer, signs with faces of Detroiters that perished from the virus were posted along Belle Isle roads. I heard that and was gripped by the wonderful idea and knowledge I'd never be able to bring myself to see them. Seeing all those faces would've reduced me to a puddle. I'd stop at each one and think of who they were, who they touched, who the family members were, a life cut short. They weren't just a statistic, they were US! And they were gone with loved ones left to grieve. We've reached 525,000 dead from COVID 19 in the US, a year since so much started to go so wrong. All those flags on that field ... they were SOMEBODY, family, friends, neighbors, important to others we don't know. Then their breath was stolen from them forever. So, so, so ... many.
This disease is a nightmare out of proportion to words I can ascribe to it. Carry on friends, the vaccine should deliver us from this terrible health crisis.