You can’t see the cause with the naked eye, but the effect hits you in the face every day.
Every time you don a mask to walk into the post office and pray that mail is the only thing you carried in there.
Every time you wipe down the buggy at the store and hastily shop for groceries, playing a game of chess with other shoppers to avoid checkmate because of the threat of being captured by the virus.
You hope that the only thing you check out with is the groceries in your buggy, because anything more is too high of a price to afford.
COVID-19 has affected the lives of everyone in some way or another, especially those who have lost loved ones to the ruthless disease.
It’s knowing that your family member is lying in a hospital bed attached to a mechanical machine that’s forcing oxygen into their lungs to expel the carbon dioxide. I only wish it forced out the hateful virus at the same time.
A person you love lies there alone with IVs stuck in uncomfortable and awkward places, being poked and prodded by nurses and doctors.
The masks, gloves, gowns, and face shields they wear are a harsh contrast to the fragile condition of the patient.
Loved ones aren’t allowed in the room, so there are no “I love you’s” or words of encouragement or bedside prayers to drown out the beeps of the monitor checking a heart rate, the tone of the nurse call button or the gradual drip, drip, dripping of fluids.
With each drip echoing through the sterile, pale white room that’s separated by a mere curtain, but isolated by the knowledge that you can’t hold their hand and reminiscence about all of the squeezing hugs and laughter that were shared through the years. A life well lived to end all too soon.
I miss my loved one. My grandfather passed away from COVID-19 last week.
The searing, crippling pain of losing someone is so debilitating that it forces you to the ground because even your knees can’t pretend to stand strong anymore.
That feeling is not something that can be wiped into a tissue and thrown out or washed away with soap and water.
As businesses open back up, I urge every person to consider how their actions impact others.
Are the temporary acts of going to a salon, getting a pedicure or eating dinner at a restaurant worth the lifetime struggle that comes for families that are forced with memories that can only be shared through pictures and stories around the dinner table?
Excuses from people believing that they are an exception to the rule are forever stacking up like a pile of unpaid bills.
Yes, you miss your nights out with friends and Friday night movie dates. And you even miss your name brand toilet paper and preferred cleaning products.
But I miss my grandfather.
And that’s not something that can be shipped by a tractor trailer and restocked at a grocery store.
I guess to most he’s just a statistic now. Something to be checked nonchalantly on the web when you can remember to.
But for my family, it means so much more than that.
So, for now, please don’t go out and start living life as usual.
Because for some families this “new normal” is not temporary. Not something that can be reversed by an executive order.
It’s how they have to operate for the rest of their lives.
If you have even one ounce of selflessness in your body, please continue to stay at home.
So maybe your loved one doesn’t show up as the next death statistic that I read about on the 7 p.m. update.
Megan Broome is a staff writer for The Clayton Tribune.