It finally happened. I lost a relative to COVID-19, and then another. I will admit that until these two deaths, I was a bit of a skeptic—not about whether or not the virus existed or not, but of the grave danger it posed to human life.
I read the science behind the virus and the statistics from around the world, and I admit I was a tad bit skeptical of the lockdown measures. I wondered if drastic closure of businesses was necessary. I wondered if the economy taking the hit as it did was necessary. I wondered if fining people for hanging out in a park was necessary. Maybe I thought this way because I am young, healthy, and living in a first world country with a strong medical system. Or maybe because no one I knew had tested positive for COVID-19, so I could never relate to its seriousness. Or maybe because the minor inconveniences I faced during lockdown seemed not-so-minor in my mind and I was being a spoiled brat who couldn’t attend her workout classes and drink a $20 espresso martini with her friends.
Until I lost loved ones, it felt like someone was saying a giant invisible monster that could kill you was roaming among us, to be careful and stay home until told otherwise. Until I lost loved ones, it felt like one of those stories you hear about how a friend of a friend met a ghost in their attic that makes you roll your eyes. Well, I’m here to tell you I was yanked out of my skepticism—denial, whatever you want to call it—in the rudest possible way.
Losing loved ones was tough. What was tougher was mourning in isolation. Not being able to hug my cousin who lost his mom. Not being able to hug my grandmother who lost her son. Wondering how the immediate families will get closure without a proper funeral and in the case of one of them, without ever even seeing the face of their father one last time before he was quickly buried under the orders of the hospital staff.
With these deaths, I feel sucker punched straight in the stomach. Now when I hear that the city I live in is slowly reopening, I shake my head in horror, saying, “No, no, no, please extend the lockdown.” I wear a mask and sanitize my hands more frequently than before. I am calling my parents more frequently than I was before. I call my parents more frequently, too.
So for anyone who is slightly skeptical, slightly irritated, or slightly inconvenienced by the lockdown, I’m here to tell you this: Suck it up and stay the hell home until told otherwise.