On March 19, 2020, Gavin Newsom shut down California. It was a bit shocking at the time, but it was necessary. I was grateful to live in a state that seemed to be taking some form of action during the early weeks of the spread of COVID-19. Everything just got weirder by the day. Current news was irrelevant only hours later.
In Georgia, where my mom lives with my step-dad, the governor held out shutting down until April 3rd. Many of my friends in Atlanta had been able to transition to work exclusively from home, if they werent already doing so. My mom acknowledged that the virus was affecting traffic to her salon. Even her loyalist clients were getting more and more spooked to come in for a face-to-face appointment. Admittedly, so was she.
Still, whenever I would call her during my first two weeks of quarantine in California, she would extinguish any resentment I was feeling toward our U.S. leadership. Per usual, she was happily buzzing around her house.
“I’m getting so much done!” She was enjoying the time off to complete long deferred projects and chores. Even with the aggressive progression of the virus during the early days, which are only weeks removed from this moment, some states are still refusing to issue stay-at-home orders. Florida, in particular, frustrated me as many more of my friends live there. One can only assume they were initially trying to wait to see if the Easter goal of “reopening the economy” would be attainable. Maybe this whole thing would blow over and their local communities wouldnt have to suffer without a paycheck. Now, Tax Day has passed, we’re all still in the house and many citizens have been issued a one-time stimulus to keep us fed until we can return to work. You may want to call it hush money, but I dont know if $1200 is enough to shut any U.S. citizen up for an entire quarter of the year.
The Great Equalizer has shown us how wide our socio-economic gaps are. It also highlights how racism and xenophobia are deeply ingrained in the hearts and legislation of this country. Although we are all in the same boat, some people have life-vests, flares, food and first aid. Others are in the hull with nothing more than duct tape, attempting to plug the holes in the vessel before too much water seeps in. Those above deck may feel prepared to ride out the storm, but they are only as safe as the people who will inevitably drown below, eventually sinking the entire boat and everyone on it.
With so many different variables affecting how people experience the Pandemic, there is no one correct way to react to its consequences. This was also true for my mother. So here is what she recently shared on Facebook:
‘Today I broke down… and had to write about it: Hello my World. My name is Monique. I am a working wife, a mom and a small business owner. I am usually a positive person who finds the bright side, sees things half full, turns the other cheek and tries to lift Spirits. In general, I try to celebrate Life while trying to achieve or maintain balance.
During this Corona Flu Pandemic I have tried not to absorb all the news put out every day (to the point of depression), but to grab as much as I can to stay informed and in touch.Kind of like my reaction to the ‘What The Health’ documentary that went viral: I knew (from what I gathered) that I would be “TOTALLY DONE with meat if I watched this flick”.
So I read and collected enough information about the subject to keep me informed, but not turned off or brought down. Just like with this Covid-19 Virus….
…but today, I finally cried when I watched the documentary about the Spanish Flu that took place just a century ago… and I realized that we learned ABSOLUTELY nothing from that horrific world disaster.
During the Spanish Flu, it was malnourishment, overcrowded hospitals, overworked medical staff and poor hygiene that promoted, fed and spred the bacterial superinfection. Sadly, today we are repeateding the sequences of that tortuous event almost detail for detail. Including denying it exists, hiding the facts and gravity of the situation, going against precautions and educated warnings, then allowing AND aiding the spread of this very potential death threat to the world and it’s eminent death sentence to so many. All while turning a seemingly ‘I couldn’t care less” nose up to those suffering the most.
After seeing the YouTube 1918 Spanish Flu documentary, I continued to view, listen and read up on everything “out there” regarding our 2020 Pandemic situation AND all the effects of it worldwide. My heart grew heavier and heavier…and today I finally cried…and cried…DEEP pain… finally crying to God to “please, hear all of our collective prayers worldwide”. Praying that somehow, God can execute His Will over the world, while simultaneously ending all of this human suffering……because, today I realized I live on a planet that continually chooses it’s self and wealth over what is just and fair…for everyone…. So yes, today I finally cried for the students who rely on schools and others outside their homes for food, comfort or even love…and don’t have nearly enough of any of these basic needs…
Today I cried for the tortured who are trapped in their homes with their victimizer(s), unable to escape to school, work or the store for a reprieve from the abuse…
Today I cried for the marriages, partnerships and relationships that had already contemplated dissolution Pre-Covid/self quarantining, but are further stressed with less income, “cabin fever” and depression increasing their tensions.
Today I cried for those filled with loneliness, particularly living alone, and those fighting against depression…
Today I cried for those in physical pain, but can find no relief because resources are not available, non existent and made scarce with over worked medical personnel and facilities.
Today I cried when I remembered reading about Sandy Brown, (who lost both her husband and then her son to this superinfection) and is now left alone with this hugh unbearable pain and void in her life….
Today I cried at the very thought that just like in 1921, (when the war and finally the Spanish Flu were “behind” the 500 million affected), we as a world will have learned nothing from all of the loss and suffering:
-Will we remember that all the material distractions mean NOTHING compared your health and loved ones who ABSOLUTELY mean EVERYTHING.
-Will we remember to make certain we individually and collectively put time, energy and resources to investing in people and in caring for those who have deficits in nurishment, housing, education, resources, interactions and love.
-Will we continue to appreciate all the little things that we do now?
-Will we begin or continue to pray, thank, praise, call upon and rely on God??
-Will we welcome His Will (and not our own will and understanding) to rule and guide our lives and this world???
-Will we allow God to Inspire and Lead us to do what is right for ourselves, our communities and for this entire world???
Will we!? If every body does their “little” part the world can change!!
Make a difference…TODAY… to insure we have a brighter tomorrow!”
So much gratitude is in order. She has opened the door for me. I have been so fearful of sharing how this Pandemic was making it difficult to express myself because so much of what I wanted to express is ANGER. Anger and I arent friends. Most days I’m stronger than my anger, but this virus has, theoretically, weakened my defenses. It has revealed and highlighted so many issues our society must address and many issues we must also address with ourselves. The goal is exactly what my mother described: finding the silver lining, faith or cause that will inspire us to live as a village that cares for each other.