The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes. Julius Caesar (Act II, Scene II, Line 31) Shakespeare
Death is the driving hell behind this novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. Somewhere between ten percent and two percent of those who are infected die. It has wiped out families and those without. It has killed celebrities and those who sweep floors. It has no care about making some people without symptoms and those whose body can no longer breathe.
What a pandemic or epidemic does is bring death to the door. Not a pleasant leaving this mortal coil (Shakespeare) as often is the blessing of dying in one’s sleep. Not a violent end from a automobile crash. It is a disease that makes one ill or horribly ill and a death with a tube in your lungs. Or your neighbor’s lungs. Or your children’s teacher.
Some live, some die. You cannot know who will live, who will not. That is what happens with a disease like a virus.
This afternoon I was watching MSNBC Nicolle Wallace when one of the panelists said he has lost ten friends to COVID-19. I started having flashbacks (yes, real horrible flashbacks) to the mid-1990’s when I was fighting for my life against a virus, Hepatitis C. Death was a constant for us.
I was on Prodigy, AOL and CompuServe various boards related to HepC. Starting in 1995 we realized the death rate was nothing like the governments were telling us. By 1997 we were losing at least one person, a Hepper (I made up the name Leper and Hepatitis) every day. I started a website as a memorial website of those who died. It had many hundreds of memorials. I ended it when a friend committed suicide.
We lost thousands of Heppers. Some showed up for a few visits on the boards, a few were regulars. What made all of us the same was being infected with HCV and not knowing if we were going to die. Death with HCV is terrible, just as death with COVID-19 is.
The experience hardened me. When you have hundreds of people you know by name and have shared lives and hopes, and they die it does something to you. My psychologists have helped. They understand what mass death means. This pandemic is doing the same. You see life differently, you feel life differently. And for those who survive you are changed. You are changed in ways others may never understand.
My sympathy goes to all those affected by this virus. I fought mine to a draw. It took me almost fifteen years to recover most of my strength. I hope these people do not face that life.