In the last three months, a phenomenon has occurred which many people do not see in their lifetimes: a global pandemic. The world has been locked down, and the people have experienced the tough absences of job security, sports and recreation, travel, schooling, and, most dauntingly, health and wellness of communities. We have all borne the brunt of this virus in our own ways, whether that has been staying home religiously, losing work or becoming overwhelmed with duties (depending on the vocation), being constantly alert of hygienic practices and trying to stay informed by watching the news and following social media every day, which are daunting tasks.
Daunting as it is, it’s even more scary when one follows the rules and still becomes COVID-19 positive and unknowingly spreads the virus to family members. That is the story of a Palestinian family, named the Deebs. Most people will not believe it until it hits home, and when it hits home, it’s too late. The Deeb family described themselves as being very careful and took every precaution when going outside. They think it was when the father went into the grocery store with a mask, however there were others shopping without a mask. Masks are specifically mentioned by Mrs Deeb as not having been full-proof protection. It was both Mr and Mrs Deeb who first felt the symptoms. Both had rather mild cases of the Coronavirus.
Unfortunately, of their five children, two teenagers were so ill that the hospital, St Christopher’s needed to get approval to try emergency experimental drugs. They were then put on ventilators. The Deeb family members were gradually released from the hospital one by one. The last was escorted out among an aisle of people, cheering and applauding.
Another story comes from an intensive care physician, Dr Julie John, who was just beginning to treat the very ill COVID-19 patients when she began experiencing symptoms in April. She awoke in the middle of the night with extreme difficulty breathing. It felt as though she were drowning in her own lungs. She knew that if she called 911, they would take her away intubated, a sight which she did not want her young children to see. She proceeded to get on her knees, put her head to the ground and pray to the Lord to let her live and to have time to say goodbye. Dr Julie John then made a video in which she told her children how much she loved them, to be nice to others and that she cared for them more than anything, despite being away for so long because of her work.
In what she believed to be her final moments, her only thoughts were of the wellbeing of her kids and their knowledge of the depth of her love for them. Thankfully she survived her ordeal and continues to serve her community as a doctor and mother to her children.
All in all, as the famous saying goes, you will always find your way back home. All families have either experienced or have thought about the weight of potentially losing the people they love. As shocking and disruptive this virus has been to this country and to the world, our love is what carries us through as demonstrated in these two harrowing stories. Love and understanding are what people have chosen to show in the time of such hardship, and while not everyone has survived, it is hoped that their legacies will prevail.
It is also hoped that by sharing these stories, there will be an increased understanding and empathy for those who do what they to follow what is recommended, and yet, still contract the coronavirus and in some cases, spread it to others. Here are some resources to help families cope with the stress of the coronavirus. http://bit.ly/HelpForFamiliesCOVID-19
Less judgement and more empathy are what is needed right now to help all of us through this pandemic.
One day, these events will be transformed into a momentous historical moment which we and our future generations will remember.
Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. Wear a Mask.