If This is Not the Worst Day of Your Life Then Please Shut Up and Go Home
There are no milestones to mark the days.
No deadlines to meet. No appointments to keep.
Fridays = Shields and Brooks on the Newshour, as always. Fifteen minutes of news commentary that lulls me into believing that the United States is still a tolerant place.
Costco opens it’s doors now from 8-9 am for senior shoppers. Half of me wants to jump up and down about it, the other half hopes they turn me away for being way too young…(I’m not and they didn’t.)
Videos from Yosemite and Yellowstone record that in the absence of humans, Bison, Bear, Wolves and Coyote now roam freely through the streets of our National Parks. Oh to be a fly on the canyon walls right now.
Here in the hood, the grass is Gatorade green. The orchard will likely be in full bloom tomorrow. There is a beautifully constructed but oddly empty new bird’s nest in the rhododendron.
On our daily walks we can’t help but comment on the clarity of the sky and the quality of the light behind the silhouettes of tall trees. Everything seems to have suddenly switched to high-def.
But the exhilaration that normally accompanies Spring is subdued. Everything feels tamped down by bad news, even as the northern hemisphere slowly tilts toward the sun and the natural world enjoys some much needed down time.
We decided not to shop in our local community stores, where we do small scale grocery and hardware runs on a regular basis. There are no social distancing measures being practiced in the downtown businesses. Employees don’t wear masks. Checkout lines are not delineated at safe intervals. Even the lone local police man wanders around in public without a mask.
This is a pretty conservative area and I can sense that some of the natives are getting restless.
My state was one of the first to get hit with the virus and one of the first to institute safety guidelines and then business and school closures in an attempt to contain public spread of the disease.
As a result, our death toll was never what models said it would be before the Governor made those difficult decisions. Because it is working.
But a minority of residents are making a lot of noise about these restrictions. They gather at public rallies designed to flaunt their fearlessness in the face of a dangerous pandemic. In so doing, they are endangering themselves, their families, and their communities.
Some comment on social media that they would rather die than have their liberties taken from them. This is pure ignorance. They have no clue how this virus kills people.
It’s called oxygen starvation.
I’m certain that none of these “patriots” has ever sat at the bedside of a loved one dying from oxygen starvation.
I have. It’s no way to die.
It’s traumatic and terrifying and unholy. Bearing witness to it is a PTSD inducing experience. The sights and the sounds of it will wake you up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night for years.
It’s probably the single most difficult thing about this pandemic for me:
Knowing that people are dying like this, and most often, dying alone.
No loved one can stroke their forehead. No loved one can hold their hand.
And knowing that our doctors and nurses are bearing witness to these lonely, difficult deaths, sometimes after caring for patients for weeks. It’s devastating.
The toll that this pandemic is taking on our healthcare workers cannot be quantified.
We all owe them a huge debt. They are soldiers on the front lines of a horrible battle.
The toll that this pandemic will take on our economy will likely be huge.
I understand that this is all challenging peoples patience, their bank accounts and finances, their careers. Everyone is having bad hair days. Everyone wants a beer and a burger.
But people are dying.
And people are fighting valiantly to save lives–working grueling schedules then sleeping in motels or sending their children to relatives to protect them from what they know is a horrible disease.
Some of them will die themselves. Some will infect their families.
Some will spend the rest of their lives wondering if they did the right thing…If they did enough.
What I’m saying is this:
People are making huge sacrifices for this country right now.
This is not the time to agitate.
This is the time to cooperate.
Take this advice with a grain of salt:
If this is not the worst day of your life, then please, shut up and go home.
Then you will have earned the right to call yourself a patriot.
©2020 by Ilona Elliott