Column: Pandemic requires we be concerned for the health of others

Opening Our Eyes by Nan Dickie

I cast my mind back to mid-March this year, a scant four-and-a-half months ago.

When COVID-19 struck, I was shocked and dumb-founded. How could this be happening?

So little was known about the virus back then. The world found itself at a new Ground Zero. The virus was swift, merciless and all-encompassing. We were totally knocked off-stride.

In my ample solitude back then, I wondered and worried. I wondered when things would get back to normal. The fact is, they will never return to the old normal. The pandemic has irrevocably changed the way we think, feel, live and work.

Life will never be the same, partly because we aren’t who we were four months ago.

There was lots to worry about. There still is.

I also hoped – later knowing it to be wishful thinking – that perhaps this nightmare will be over when the weather warms up, certainly before the summer.

We thought it might be a sprint for a few months. Not so.

Read more: No flu clinics for Interior Health region this fall

Read more: Column: Don’t ignore feelings of anxiety, depression related to pandemic

Hope is essential to us now. These days we hope that before long an effective vaccine will be developed, tested and distributed world-wide. We hope those who have been most grievously affected by the pandemic’s wide-ranging consequences will be able to recover physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and economically.

We hope we will evolve into a new pattern and pace of living safely, securely, together.

We have all grown weary of this pandemic; we’re experiencing COVID fatigue. We want this ordeal to be over.

We cannot dictate the timeline for the life of this virus. We can’t control its virility. We may feel somewhat helpless about the whole reality.

But we are not helpless.

We have control over our attitude, our sense of responsibility, our choices and decisions, and our compassionate concern for our family, friends, people we encounter who serve us and the community at large.

This is a time for humility, which shouldn’t be hard to come by, as COVID-19 has already brought us to our knees.

We need to face the fact that no one is invincible – any one of us could catch the virus.

This is the time to incorporate behaviour that may not be familiar to us: to not just worry about whether we ourselves might fall victim to the virus, but be equally concerned about to whom we might give it, if we are one of the 40 per cent who are carrying the virus and exhibit no symptoms – the so-called silent spreaders.

What if you gave the virus to an 80 year old?

We know that history made us. However, it is we who make the future. We each have opportunities every day to choose what that future will be.

Nan Dickie is an author, speaker and former facilitator of a depression support group in Salmon Arm.

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