Thursday, December 24, 2020

A spectator to it all

 Stanley - Christmas eve of the terrible 2020

I wish all the readers of this blog and my fellow bloggers a very placid and peaceful end to a year that none of us will forget.

The holiday season has brought into sharp focus something that has been on my mind for a number of months - namely the huge number of people who have died from the COVID virus over the past nine months. It is not the sheer magnitude of the number of deaths that I have been thinking of (1,738,013 worldwide as of writing this), although that number is shocking, it is how detached I feel from it all.

I have been zealous in following guidance to keep safe, including five months of solitary lockdown as well as very few in-person meetings, indoors or outdoors. I have, of course, Zoomed with friends around the world, but nowhere have I had to confront the reality of someone I know dying because of the virus. It is as though I am in a bubble looking out at a chaotic world where people are succumbing at a horrific rate.

I read the statistics and look at photographs of cemeteries with hundreds of newly-dug graves; I watch news clips of overwhelmed intensive-care units with refrigerated trucks outside to hold the corpses that undertakers can't immediately handle; I am blown away by the courage and dedication of healthcare workers and others, many of whom die while serving.

Cemetery in Manaus, Brazil

Emergency room

What it takes to keep someone alive

All this is happening around me. 79,070,049 cases of COVID-19 as of today. 1,738,013 deaths. Millions of families in mourning; millions facing eviction; even more millions out of work, facing hunger, not knowing what the future holds.



Lined up at a Texas food bank

Lined up at another Texas food bank

All this is happening while I enjoy good fortune. I'm safe, well-fed, financially secure, and healthy. 

However, my mind keeps returning to the sadness and despair so many must be feeling this holiday season; to the sense of abandonment so many must be gripped by. I know it is happening, but I feel apart from it - a spectator. 

I can only hope that in the gloom of the waning of 2020, those who are suffering will find some solace, some happiness. And that the vaccine and time will bring some normality to 2021.


  1. The suffering families have gone through is disturbing. The feeling one gets is that Congress and the WH don't know anything about taking care of the American people and frankly don't care.

    1. You are so right Kwei. There's so little indication that politicians in Washington have any idea of life in the real world. It's the one thing I with which I always agreed with Trump - drain the swamp. The problem is he made it even worse.

  2. True for me too, Stan. I have two very dear friends who became very sick, but recuperated. Then, just this past week, someone I know succumbed. A sixty-two year old with a brand new grandson that he hardly got a glance at. My heart cries for the people who have lost loved ones. And also for the poor beleaguered hospital workers. What makes it all worse is that in the USA, at least, it did not have to be this bad. Crushing!

  3. Yes. I agree with you completely. Frontline and essential workers are heroes. In the U.S., 3,000 health workers have died. And so have many people who have had to work in factories, retail stores and elsewhere during this pandemic. I hope the vaccine is effective and gets to everyone quickly. And I hope that sufficient funds are found to help the jobless, stop evictions and fund food.