This week, the United States passed a milestone so grim, so heartbreaking, so unnerving and unnecessary. 500,000. A half million, and likely much more considering that deaths are undoubtedly being undercounted. How does one begin to process the pain? It sweeps across the nation, into every town, and county, and city, and state. It sits at dinner tables, church pews, and city parks. It can be measured in photo albums that will not have new pages, family gatherings that will be missing a familiar laugh or hug, a stuffed animal that will not be cradled.
Death has not struck equally... Along with those working in hospitals, Black and brown Americans, the poor, the elderly, those working in other front-line jobs, as in supermarkets or classrooms which are not supposed to be dangerous occupations, have borne some of the heaviest burdens. And beyond the death, loss tallied in missed memories, schools shuttered, mental health crises, and burden after burden after burden.
This is not over. Case rates have dipped, even plummeted in some places. The vaccine brings hope. But we know we are not at any finish line. We have already been surprised many times already by this pandemic, often for the worse.
So today I would like to create a space for our Steady community to reflect. My midweek question is a series of queries (that don’t have an immediate answer, or a one-size-fits-all answer):
How can we begin to memorialize the loss? How do we honor our grief? How do we never forget?
How can we begin to memorialize the loss?
How do we honor our grief?
How do we never forget?
My thoughts and heart turn to another deadly disease, AIDS, and the quilt that became a way to remember vibrant lives and the voids of sadness they left behind. To see pictures of that emotional project still brings a lump in my throat and memories flood back of those I once knew who perished.
Feel free in the comments today to not only answer the questions but to share the names, and memories, of those who you knew who died from COVID. Perhaps in this space their memory can be a blessing and the burden of pain, when shared, can feel acknowledged.
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Some ground rules for these Wednesday chats (and also the comments sections on other posts): I want a space where people feel safe to express their views, as long as they are offered in good faith.I want a space where ideas can be challenged, especially my own. I want debate. But I want it to be civil. I want people to come here with open minds, and open hearts.I want this to be fun as well as serious.We can agree to disagree without being disagreeable.
Some ground rules for these Wednesday chats (and also the comments sections on other posts):
I want a space where people feel safe to express their views, as long as they are offered in good faith.
I want a space where ideas can be challenged, especially my own.
I want debate. But I want it to be civil.
I want people to come here with open minds, and open hearts.
I want this to be fun as well as serious.
We can agree to disagree without being disagreeable.