• T.C. McMullen

Pandemic Truths


My baby is dying. The one I grew from conception to birth. Then I watched it grow. Slowly, baby steps, uncertain. Sometimes stumbling. And then it grew, enough to take care of my family, then larger to support some of my neighbors. I fought for it every day, every moment, worries, accomplishments, my entire life spent on it. Others helped me and we watched it bloom. Each week, it gave back, for months, for years, sometimes generations, until…


Until one day I was told it wasn’t safe. And my baby isn't essential. I had to lock it down. I had to cut off every lifeline to my baby. It struggled to breathe. Two weeks, we could handle. It was safer that way. We have to do what we can.


Four weeks, struggle is growing unbearable. Things are so uncertain. I see tiny gossamer threads being tossed to help some fighting for their babies.


Others, I watch as the last light blinks out, never to be lit again.


I hang on. Responsibilities heap heavy. I don’t know if they will crush my baby or how to keep it from doing so. If I ask for help, if I plead for the health of my baby, I get pummeled and beaten and told “all you care about is money, you’re evil, you’re endangering us all.”


I just want to help my neighbors keep food on their tables and a little cash for them to pay their bills. To keep my baby’s service or products available to those who need it. We would be careful, we would do everything possible and are small so it’s easier to keep our hands clean, our areas “safe.” Or maybe we can just deliver.


Eight weeks. I don’t know where to turn. My baby is on life support, gasping.


Ten weeks.


Now we must wait for a total of ten weeks. Very few of the small babies will survive so long. And very few of them are getting any help at all.


Why can’t I and my baby help the neighbors we love? Why are we a danger when the big boys aren’t? Why are my cries for help only receiving anger? Why are there no answers?


Help.

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From the author:


I ask everyone, please see things from all sides, not just the side you’re being told to see. Your communities are dying, but we’re told that’s what must happen to stay “safe.”


It’s not about the money. These people closed their "baby" down and did what they could to protect their neighbors. Someone who builds a small business with no big huge backers, someone who simply provides a community service, it’s never about the money. The money is just a necessary thing they have to deal with. And the money going out doesn’t stop. These businesses are hemorrhaging.


They don’t want to open their doors and act like it’s January. They want to be allowed to find a way to do what they need to do to stay alive, to operate in some way. They don’t want to put anyone at risk for anything.


What if in ten weeks, four more weeks are added? What if when they allow things open, you realize there is nothing left in your small community but a few big businesses that don’t care one lick about you? What if your neighbors lose their homes in a few more months, too buried under debt they couldn’t stave off? What if by fall, you drive down your town street and abandoned buildings are more numerous than not?


My heart breaks for those who battle the disease, but that’s only part of the battle. It’s taking our at-risk neighbors. The unclear blanket “precautions” in my area of my state will also take whole communities into a pit of hopelessness they might never recover from if we’re not careful. Lives and livelihoods all matter. Everything is essential. Everything matters. We have to find ways to protect it all against this virus as much as we can…


My household is headed by self employed, the husband’s business is essential, mine is not. I'm online but physically down for at least the rest of the year. Two children still live at home, one who works for a local dairy business and one who works for a larger health care business. Both essential. Our lives changed very little, mostly in that things are harder to do. Or to do without.


At this point even the large essential businesses are floundering. This is a truth we must face. With so many not working, or getting paid, they aren’t getting the services they need and those service providers are strangling as a result. If nothing else, we must stop attacking each other and understand we are all concerned about the virus and our communities. No one wants to see anyone suffer. It’s all connected.


We’re all connected.

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