My Journey Home
Tears and sadness grip my heart on a daily basis for people I don’t even know. Some would say “stop reading those stories” but I cannot look away. More than 281 thousand people have died of COVID in the United States alone. That’s an overwhelming statistic, but it’s so much more than that to me. It’s the loss of someone’s mother. Someone’s father. A child, brother, sister, or friend. It’s one less teacher in the classroom, or one less nurse in the ER. It’s a song never written, or art piece never produced. It’s one less smile in someone’s life, one less word of encouragement, one less hug at the end of a hard day.
The loss of our humanity begins with being numb to these “statistics.”
Alex Goldstein started @FacesofCovid on Twitter as a tribute to those lost in this pandemic. As hard as it is, I read these posts everyday. I pause for just one moment to look at these faces and read their stories. I stop to imagine what the world is like now without them in it. I often retweet the post and find something kind to say to those who will now and forever live without this person in their lives, even though I don’t know if they will ever see it. I also send a prayer and ask God to send them comfort.
As I write this I realize that I must also pray for some comfort for me. These stories are taking their toll on me too. As an empath, I feel the overwhelming sadness very personally and I have little outlet for it. When 9/11 happened, I cried for weeks, but had the luxury of being held by my (then) husband. Every night I crawled into bed and the truth of it all would sink in and grip my soul. The sobbing would begin and my husband would move closer and wrap me in his arms until the tremors ceased. No one is there to hold me now and the grief of that gets mixed into today’s stark reality.
iamjoyouslight, the spiritual side of me, believes that “everything happens for a reason.” I try desperately to believe her – to trust – to have hope again. To imagine, if just for a moment, what possible “reason” there can be in this tragedy. And then I return to Alex’s @FacesofCovid and see how acknowledging these losses and providing comfort to the bereaved is providing some measure of comfort to me as well. We must all seek to give what we most need…spread the word, spread the LIGHT.