An Open Letter to my Community
Updated: Jun 3
tl;dr C19 is real. C19 can kill. C19 does not discriminate. If you want your loved ones to survive this thing, no precaution is too much. Also, God gave you everything, so you can trust Him with everything.
Dear anyone who loves someone,
My grandma passed away last night due to COVID-19. She was the last grandparent I had and the only grandparent I was actually close to. My family and I are devastated. She was a wonderful, outgoing, feisty woman.
I believe her passing was avoidable.
The numbers feel like cold, unrelatable statistics until you or your loved one becomes one of them. Then it finally matters. I'm guilty of this fault. During March and April, I left my house, only to visit my fiance, thinking, "I'm not going to get it, and if I do, I'm strong enough to fight it."
A lot of us don't believe we or our loved ones will get it. That the disease is "out there" but not so close that it could actually affect us personally. We don't associate these numbers with real people. People with families, friends, personalities, and passions. I see these beliefs in my friends, community, and formerly, myself. We don't fully understand the concept of spread and the danger of asymptomatic people. It makes sense. Our enemy is invisible.
I had to go to the grocery store for my family today. A man was shopping with his 6ish year old daughter. I tried to keep my distance but they casually passed by two or three feet away from me. If the dad had known what I had gone through in the past 24 hours, something that had happened in his own community, I'm sure he would have acted differently. I now look at everyone and see someone who could die if we are not careful enough. Someone's husband. Another person's mom. Someone's beloved sister.
I didn't take this disease seriously enough until someone I loved passed away because of it.
If some of us truly call ourselves pro-life, I think we need to seriously evaluate our attitude toward this current situation. Is the life of any one unrepeatable person worth not taking precautions?
My point is, I urge all of you to reconsider your behaviors. This virus has killed all ages, including children and an athlete in his 20s. Our most vulnerable are at most risk. If they get it, it's game over. No do-overs. No better-luck-next-time. No, it's okay, try again tomorrow. It's what happened to my family. Please make all necessary precautions to protect your family. This disease's seriousness is REAL and it is HERE. Protect yourself and those around you by listening to the CDC and staying home as much as possible. Your family and my family are worth it!
My intention is not to make anyone feel bad, I'm just saying it's very easy to become complacent, Christian believers and non-believers alike. Also, my intention is to not place the blame on any single person for my grandma's passing.
Concerning my Faith
I believe the vision that Pope Leo the XIII had in 1883 continues to come true and Satan continues to have a hay day. World War 1. The Great Depression. World War 2. The Cold War. The Sexual "Revolution." Roe VS Wade. 9/11. The modern day persecution of Christians.
And now the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Satan knows we are social creatures. He knows we naturally suffer in isolation, so he further leverages this against us. People have grown weary. People are losing their trust in the leaders of this situation and in God. So they're unnecessarily leaving their homes, even protesting life saving measures.
I believe prayer would help all of these things. Loneliness. Trust. Hope. Peace. Pope Francis said the "gods of sports, money, and busy-ness are falling," which I think is great because family is more important. On the other hand, I suppose those who don't know any other God might be especially hurting and angry. I think that's where we fail as Christians.
Additionally, it doesn't help that people are indeed suffering financially. That's where I'm stuck on the whole reopening thing. Lives? or money that supports life? Next, I bet healthcare workers are going to walk off the job. My heart aches for our community.
I re-watched Fr. Mike Schmitz's "Anti-Fragile Faith" talk from a SEEK I attended. His basic message was,
Life is difficult. There is great loss and great pain in life. This isn't news! But often we treat it as such and demand justice from God. We lose hope and then despiar. As Christians, we're called to embrace hardships. Not only are we called to accept them, hardships are supposed to make our faiths stronger... Sometimes we ask God, "You've taken so much away from me and caused me so much pain. What have you done for me for you to earn back my trust?" God answers, "Everything."
Today's Gospel felt chosen for my family. John 14:1-12 "Do not let your hearts be troubled." Additionally, it felt like my priest wrote his homily as if he knew what had happened to me and my family.
I keep thinking to myself, "This didn't have to happen. This was preventable. She could have made it to 100. This is so stupid. I didn't spend enough time with her." I've used my righteous anger to say something constructive about this mess, which you have read. I hope it can save someone else's loved one. Indeed it has helped me feel better, but this only warns others of the danger. It doesn't heal my own wounds.
After meditating on my Catholic faith, revisiting that Fr. Mike talk, and reading today's Gospel, I can see a healthy way out of my grief. A path which can make me stronger and closer to God. Regret can't fix what happened. Endless crying won't change the past. The "what if/if only" game won't bring her back. It's what I do next that matters most, a lesson I learned from my beloved fiance.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled." Trust God. He knows everything, from the beginning of time to end. From the size of atom to the universe. I can trust Him with this, even though it hurts and I don't understand it. He gave me everything.