Loss and regrets

The trials and tribulations of losing a loved one to COVID-19

My family and I now sit in a confusing state of grief and anger. Last week we got the earth-shattering news that a family friend of over 30 years had passed away due to COVID-19.

In early August, he was admitted into the hospital and shortly after put on a ventilator. Before being put under, he confessed that he wished he would have gotten the vaccine. I think about his last conscious seconds before being put on the ventilator and I can’t imagine what was going through his mind.

We have all been getting vaccines since we were born. To me, I see this vaccine as no different than the rest. Many people worry about the efficacy of the drug since it was produced at such a fast rate. What most people fail to realize is the astronomical funding that went behind this. This vaccine shows what happens when people band together and contribute to public health.

Nearly every person on the planet has been affected by this terrible virus in one way or another, whether they have simply had to change the pace of their everyday life or lost a loved one to COVID-19. I truly never thought I would be the second of those two options.

The events that occurred on September 11, 2001 are horrific and never forgotten, killing nearly 3,000 people in a single day. After that, the United States severely beefed up security and started a twenty year war in the Middle East.

At its peak, COVID was killing over 15,000 people a day around the globe. What has changed in the year since we embarked on this journey of a global pandemic? Not too much. There is virtually no “lockdown” anymore, with festival season beginning and nightclubs being packed to the brim, as if the pandemic is a distant memory.

Masks, you ask? Mandates widely vary by your geographical location. I can go to a supermarket in my city and everyone is abiding by the rules. But if I grab dinner at a restaurant in the next town, not a mask in sight.

Too little is being done in efforts to combat this disastrous virus. As of this past week, the United States hit a dreadful milestone. 1 in 500 US citizens have died from COVID-19. If you don’t want to get the vaccine for yourself, please do it for the safety of those around you.

In the final hours of my family friend’s life, his fiancée was allowed to say her goodbyes in a hazmat suit. I could not think of a worse way to spend your loved ones’ last seconds on earth. No one wants to deal with that and no one should have to.

The hardest part about this situation is that it could have been avoided. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent and his life was lost because he didn’t want to get a free shot. Even though he was a right-winged lunatic at times, he did not deserve this in any capacity. He had so much more life to live. He was supposed to get married, watch his children start a family, and travel the world. He should not have been another statistic.

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