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My son was a casualty of Covid 19


June 21, 2021

My son was a casualty of Covid 19. It was not listed as “cause of death” on his Death Certificate, nor will it ever be recognized as being even remotely related. Covid accelerated his beating drum of doom. My son lived on the fringes, a disenfranchised man, incorrectly labeled by the judicial system; he struggled with bipolar and alcoholism his entire adulthood. He surrendered his life on May 15, 2020, coinciding with the first surge of Covid cases.


My son lived his life in the shadows. He was destined to a life on the outside with his mental health label -- always looking in.  It was a burden he could not bear, as a loving, big-hearted person who was ostracized from society for a crime he did not commit.  The pain exceeded his ability to cope. 


With the onset of Covid, his life went from a weak ray of hope for a future to no chance in hell. He plunged into the darkness, not a star or a beam of moonshine on his horizon. Quickly he succumbed, as his life force was already precariously close to the edge. He quickened the pace of his death march with the onset of Covid.


There was no funeral for my beloved son. My husband and I were the only attendees due to the pandemic. There were no shared tears or remembrances; no friends or family to express sympathy or support. Grieving during Covid is a lonely place to be. I found solace amongst strangers online—our new normal world. I am still awaiting a hug. 


How many others are uncounted victims of Covid? We will never know. In a country so deeply divided, our disappearing ethics and empathy for each other and our very home, planet Earth. As a society, we were at an all-time low.  Money was the goal, the “reason to be,” our very definition of “success.” Humanity was waning rapidly.  Our society was driven by fear, fear of each other, the government, all institutions, the powers necessary to maintain some civility semblance. The places and people we once turned to for guidance and comfort were all suspect, thus producing further instability and fear. Covid has brought us to a watershed moment in history.


Isolated, we have all had to face just what we’re made of and to examine our ability to cope. Many are ill-prepared to face adversity of any kind. They will suffer the deepest wounds. The psychological toll of Covid, beyond the death count, will unfold for generations to come. Pre-Covid, we barely looked each other in the eye, as we are all addicted to our screens. Now, it’s the only way we can communicate without putting our life on the line. No hugs, no contact, no touching, no warmth, we will pay hugely. 

For those on the edge, pre-Covid, such as my son, where are they now, those on the brink of survival in an ever-challenging world? How many suicides will go uncounted? How many newly created addicts; abusing alcohol, legal and illegal drugs? How many untreated addicts who had entered recovery, only to be left in the abyss? What about the mentally unstable, barely hanging on by a thread? The people who lost their jobs; how are they faring? The people who live alone, the elderly, the forgotten? What about the people who identify solely through other’s mirroring or their job title? The minorities, who always pay the highest price in any crisis, are their kids getting educated? Have we learned anything? Who are we? Where are we headed?

I write this in the past tense, as I fervently hope we will come out of this pandemic enlightened to what is essential in this life. If we are to survive as a species, our goal must be to reach out to each other, recognize our likeness’, rather than compare. We have all lost something in this pandemic, even if we refuse to acknowledge it. We need to listen for the “beating drum of doom” that accompanies so many lives. It will be deafening as we emerge from our isolation. Let us all reach out to those who Covid damaged in its endless forms and degrees. Let us not come out of this without having gained an increased awareness of ourselves and our relation to each other’s survival. Let this pain not be in vain. May my son, and all Covid casualties, counted or not, rest in peace. Those of us who survive, let us seek and spread peace

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