I lost a friend to the coronavirus this week.
John wasn’t young, and his health was more than a little compromised. I won’t even deny those things. But that did not mean he deserved a death like this.
He was hospitalized less than 48 hours, and not even sick enough for a ventilator. Respiratory and cardiac arrest brutally arrived like twin freight trains barrelling though his body, and no amount of good medical care from hardworking staff could slow it, stop it or treat it. There wasn’t even time to contact his family to let them know he was losing the fight for life. He lost so suddenly that no one expected it.
John left a wife, kids, grandchildren and a very large gun collection. He wasn’t a survivalist or looking to take target practice at his condo neighbors. He just liked guns and the history they represented. There were a lot of things he did not like about America as it is today, yet he was so perfectly American in his own way; a hardworking every man-type who did his time on the job and retired to lead a decent life with the people he loved, doing things on his own terms.
Until the virus came calling and viciously ended it all. As it has for over 160,000 Americans so far and more than three-quarters of a million people worldwide.
Most of us will end up knowing someone who is sick or dead from this, or face the virus ourselves. I don’t think that statement is a gloom-and-doom prediction; I think that without enough testing and the continued refusal to believe in simple safety precautions such as masks and social distancing, those who insist on their rights and freedoms to live in selfish denial will condemn the rest of us to a fate over which we have little control.
John’s memorial service is next week. Social distancing and masks are required by the funeral home. I am going to pay my respects to his family and see some old friends who are showing up to do the same. And for all of us, share the realization that the virus is no longer someone else’s statistic or another neighborhood’s nightmare. It’s here.