Some of us wonder if we can handle missing Easter holiday fun, if our children will be educated thoroughly enough this month. Meanwhile in our communities and across the globe, people like Eric Moore worry that they'll never see sick loved-ones again. They leave them at packed hospitals, full of masked and suited employees where ventilators are scarce and family can't visit, can't hold the hands of those suffering with COVID-19 or other critical medical conditions. In fact many don't ever see their loved ones alive again.
While some of us worry about whether our kids are spending too much time on screens, other moms and dads brush away the fear that their reused or homemade masks, donated by local community members, are not likely sufficient to protect them from COVID-19 as they work in hospitals. They did not signup to fight on the front lines against a global pandemic, necessarily. But now they work in understaffed, undersupplied, overcrowded and unsafe often make-shift medical environments, using all of their energy and resources to save human lives.
While some of us fret about how to find fresh strawberries, toilet paper, and our family's favorite cereal at the market; or chat about when we can again hike, bike, and hold dinner parties during our weekends and holidays; others search for masks, ventilators, and other PPE to save lives on the front line, in hospitals and ambulances.
While some of us mourn the days when we could dine in restaurants, others like Miriam Casali fret about properly mourning the mother whom she could not kiss goodbye, could not hold a funeral for in Italy when she died of COVID-19. Worldwide, funerals are now carefully controlled, even live-streamed in the U.S. Makeshift morgues have been created in refrigerated trucks in Manhattan.
While some of us feel concerned or even argue with friends about how long we really need to stay inside our homes— and how many more days, hours, weeks we'll feel pressured to obey pleas from government officials, doctors and nurses, to stay inside; those same doctors and nurses don't have the luxury of arguing, of fretting, of staying home. If they're still healthy, they've been asked to skip holidays, to choose to leave their own families behind, to go to work, expose their bodies, possibly even their own families, to save ours. They've been asked to fight against a virus that's brutally suffocating coworkers, killing friends, family members, and people like you and me, hourly.
While many of us still aren't sick, perhaps we should stop and breath reality. Maybe we need to give thanks for the source of our breath, our time, our health. I wonder if we need to recognize the suffering, the brutal work of those battling for us, beginning with the man Dr. Li Wenliang, who first tried to warn the world of this virus.
Maybe we've got to admit to ourselves that we owe medical workers a "thank you" not only with our applause, but with our daily behavior. We can find solace and gratitude in recognizing how our own strength and health, our ability to show honor by staying home, by responding to all of the peas of these workers on the front lines, is vitally connected not just to professionals, but to the person next door, the one down the street, the village over the hill.
We are bound. We're bound to a society alive and functioning because of cooperation, because of the life and death, the lessons, the good will of others— We are bound to leadership, the grace and the work of strangers, to the many with few of the choices that we have today, across the globe.
If you have the choice, say thank you to medical workers by staying home.