I had planned to write about resiliency today. Research suggests that as we get older, we tend to develop more resiliency. We’ve learned a few things and know how to pick ourselves up and move forward. Often, resilience involves pain or loss. Today, I learned that one of my cousins—someone only a few years older than I am—died in the hospital from COVID. I just saw on PBS News that nearly 80% of COVID deaths involve individuals 65+. My cousin learned that he had the virus about a week ago. Two days ago, he was put on a ventilator. Now he is gone. I didn’t see my cousin very often. The last time I saw him was at a holiday gathering about two years ago. He was a remarkable person with a lot of talent, compassion, and intellectual curiosity. I know that his wife and children will have to face the pain of an empty chair during the holidays. Yet, like others who have lost loved ones, they will eventually move through their loss and will go on. Most all of us do when we face personal losses.
COVID Fatigue: Swimming in Shark-Infested WatersWe are all tired of COVID and having to take all kinds of precautions. But the one thing that does haunt me is whether his untimely death could have been avoided. I suspect that he contracted the virus when he or someone he knew let their guard down. How easy it is to do. Maybe my cousin was with a friend or a family member. Maybe he had opened a door to a restaurant for his wife but didn’t wash his hands afterward and contracted the virus from a door handle. Maybe he was doing something so routine that he didn’t think about his potential exposure. I suppose we’ll never know. All we know is that he now represents a growing statistic. Trying to dodge the COVID virus is like swimming in shark-invested waters. We cannot ignore the clear danger all around us. We have to be vigilant and wear our masks and social-distance until we move beyond this dangerous time.
Staying VigilantThis is the first holiday season that my husband and I won’t be spending with any of our family. It is hard to tell your children and grandchildren that you can’t visit with them. It can be hard for other people to understand. But as older adults, we know we are especially vulnerable and cannot take unnecessary chances. While we know that we could get the virus even when taking all possible precautions, we want to be as responsible as we can. We don’t want to give the virus to anyone should we get sick, and we don’t want to add to the burden of our overly taxed medical community. It isn’t easy to keep our distance, but we are doing our best. Yesterday, my husband and I cooked a very small turkey, lit some candles, and listened to some old Bing Crosby selections (thank you, Alexa) while enjoying a very different Thanksgiving. This morning during breakfast, we said, “I love you” to each other. We’ve been saying that a lot more lately. What about you? How are you managing?