In 43 weeks the US has lost 279,865 to COVID19 and 1.49 Million world-wide.
What day will we choose to acknowledge these losses?
Will we have a Day of the Dead "Día De Los Muertos" and celebrate these lost ones, decorate their graves and leave their favorite foods? Will we design a flag that will be placed early that morning on their graves and see them waving reminders for us to remember on that one day.
Will we have a day just dedicated to preparing their favorite meals since so many missed having Thanksgiving dinner this year?
Will we set off fireworks since they may have missed them last Independence Day?
Soon we will be losing as many people who died in 9-11 each day to this preventable virus. And yet we continue with parades? The only parades we can justify are the ones taking our friends to their last resting place, because we do not attend their funerals because we are old and gathering in large numbers can be dangerous.
We cannot continue believing there is no danger because we want our lives back. We can live through this, there is an over. There are vaccines coming. We can wait this much longer we can hold out, we can survive home-cooked meals, we can recite our blessings and read the texts scheduled by our houses-of-worship, in our homes. We can call our friends on the phone, write a letter, email, zoom and text those we want to have in our lives later and be protecting of each other. We got this.
I was the HIV/AIDS Educator for the Miami Public School District for a great number of years and most every teacher had to spend some time with me as a district requirement. Before those staff-development sessions I did what I am doing tonight: reading the latest statistics, the latest tips for the public on how to best protect themselves and others. As you must know, those sessions touched on the intimate ways that virus was spread or perhaps shared would be a better verb to truly explain transmission. And stopping the transmission was the aim.
As adults we could condone and promote the use of condoms, even proper use and how best to discard used ones. Sometimes I had a basket of brand new colored or scented give-a-ways. We talked through the latest myths and spoke the sometimes uncomfortable facts.
We didn't have to close schools, fear church services, reschedule ballgames. We had to pay attention to body fluids of all types getting into someone else's body. We lost some really good people to AIDS who had a lot more they could have given the world, their gifts were many and varied.
How big is the COVID Quilt? The AIDS Quilt grew so large finding a venue to display it became difficult. Miami is represented in that Quilt by several of our own who were remembered with each stitch it took to create their piece.
Our new dead: we will memorialize, we will honor, remember and we will miss you.
We will realize how this happened. We simply breathed the same air. The same air that has carried the heavy metals you have been exposed to that may be why our kids are hyperactive, the same air that carries a fungus known as Aspergillus fumigatus, the fungus causing Aspergillosis. The air that carries the styrene that is emitted by the hundred-thousand pounds a year, the same air we worry brought benzene and asbestos into our lungs, the same air that we co-mingle and breathe wondering how we got sick from those exposures we won't name or blame either.
We are what we breathe.
I am known for demanding, wishing, desiring clean water as a right. Clean air is our other human right. But we can be also a source of BAD AIR, this is how we spread COVID19. We are the source, it can't live and produce on its own. It needs a host to carry it and transmit it. We are doing this to each other. And knowing we are the source or could be demands by human decency for us to shut down our emissions. We are the polluter. We are the regulator. We are in control of the air we breathe out to others. Masks both guard us and protect others from virus we may not know we carry.
I heard a phrase today that may fit and we must fight against it. Empathy Deficit.
Is that what we have developed? Have we lost the ability to have empathy for others? Do we have a deficit? Do we no longer care for our brothers, our neighbors? Have we become selfish?
No, we are goodhearted and sensible. We are protective of others. We want to see each other come summer, maybe by the fall out shopping, walking our dogs, attending soccer games, back at church with the kids OUT OF THE HOUSE and back to school. There is an after and we can meet over there.
"Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I'll meet you there."
~ Rumi, 13th century poet
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim