History Will Bear Witness
History will bear witness to the terrible costs of the Worldwide Pandemic known as Covid-19 in the year 2020. In tallying those costs, nothing can compare to the loss of lives: 627,039 in the USA and 4.16 million worldwide to date. Over four million people–gone. The Covid Pandemic took husbands, wives, partners, mothers, fathers, others, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, friends and even children.
For those of us fortunate enough to be alive to tell of it, the list of other losses can be summed up by saying that, for a time, Covid took away “life as we knew it.”
The difficult dance of defending against Covid
The time of Covid found the patriarch of our family, Dan Neff, in remission from Mantle Cell Lymphoma. It seems that just when the cancer quit, Dan’s COPD flared up. In order to get pain relief and ease with obtaining services, supplies and equipment, we signed up for at-home hospice in November of 2020. Being eight months into the pandemic at that time, it was clear that we needed to take serious precautions to keep the virus out of our home since contracting it would be extremely dangerous for Dan with COPD already in place. Our adult children instituted a Covid regimen among themselves so that no one visited unless they had quarantined and tested negative. After visiting us they would quarantine and test again. The intense precautions paid off. No one who was directly caring for Dan from our family caught the virus.
The first thing Covid took from our family in March 2020 was my job. I had a good paying, per diem teaching position with Kaiser Permanente and in March I was informed that all classes were canceled for the foreseeable future. A month or two later they began truncated classes, online, but only from a Kaiser facility. I declined that option in order to cut down chances that I would bring the virus home to Dan.
Around that time, Dan had a heart issue which meant he had to be hospitalized while Covid was in full swing. When I took him to the hospital I was not allowed to go in, which gave us just a tiny taste of the terrible reality that others experienced. Isolation.
He spent two miserable days there, Covid making what is always a difficult experience about 10X more difficult. Although it felt hard for us at the time, our struggle was microscopic compared with those who had Covid who were packed in hospitals with limited supplies, equipment, or space, and the necessary isolation.
There were many other losses that did not impact our home directly, but fully affected our hearts. Jobs and businesses lost, a wedding postponed, adult grandchildren who caught the disease, the separation from family that the pandemic required, the sense that world as we knew it was being swallowed up.
When I searched Facebook for #CovidGift, it was inspiring to witness the resilience of humans as one person after another searched to find a positive in the midst of the many negatives in their lives. Some spoke of more quality family time in quarantine; free concerts via Zoom; birthday drive-by’s; special gifts that friends sent; I miss you cards with creative photos. Some mentioned that after stopping their out-of-home activities due to Covid that they were surprised at how how good it felt to slow down.
The #CovidGift to our family was the unexpected gift of time together.
It feels surreal to look at the photos that document bits and pieces of our time together. It is still hard to believe that he is gone.
sun rose and set
not always knowing
and each other.
and each other.
and each other
– a widow