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LETTERS / Consider Each Masked Face You See as One Who is Working to Save Your Life

Dear Fellow American,

You are on my mind. Watching accurate updates about the Pandemic, you know, we are each vulnerable. It’s hard to stay cognizant of this fact. But it IS a fact. I find myself startled, saddened, stunned, angry and bewildered. Many of us are not acting like we possess the knowledge that we are each in danger.

I see two options: I. Either “I” (or “You”) may be so unfortunate to die from COVID-19, and/or Option II. I(and/or You) will have a broken heart over losing one I/we love to COVID19. ALL of our hearts are vulnerable to breaking over the fact that someone we, I, YOU love, is going to be that unfortunate, vulnerable soul who dies from it. This is a pandemic and science isn’t negotiating.

So why are we not doing everything, individually, within our power, to prevent this Loss from happening? I want to ask, “What are you thinking?” I’m a dual caregiver for my 89 year old mother and my son (also among the vulnerable population). By the time I complete this letter, we could be near 74, maybe 75,000 deaths. This is the number of KNOWN positive cases of COVID19 North American deaths. We cannot trust “the numbers” because we have yet to create broad testing.

Pre- COVID19, I protected my health because two people depend upon me. Now, I have a regimented protocol and even if I am vigilant, as long as you care less about wearing a mask, I, my mother and my son are far more vulnerable. My mind has been on overdrive trying to figure out how you can see employees of grocery stores with their required masks they wear for HOURS per shift to protect YOU, and you’re willing to put their lives in jeopardy. Do you look them in the eyes when you breeze past?

Maybe you’re so fortunate at this juncture in your life NOT to have lost someone you deeply love. MAYBE. I am 58 years old. I have lost my father, my best friend, my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, all of my grandparents, my nephew, my niece and many of the friends I’ve considered to be my closest during my life. I know since my mother lives with heart disease (and forgets she has it, though her health is extremely tenuous), is 89 and reminds me (pre-COVID), “I’m going to die.” I’m not delusional about her mortality. But have you educated yourself about this disease? It’s not only merciless, it’s torturous. Many who survive, lose 20-30% of lung capacity, permanently. One who dies from COVID19 does not get the opportunity to be surrounded by loved ones.

I’m just wondering, and I implore you to ponder, “Who is it?” that you’re waiting to hear the news of their death before you put on your damn mask? Consider each masked face you see as one who is working to save your life. It’s true. Thank you for your consideration. God bless us.
Thank you. Be well & peace 2u.

Genevieve Austin