We around the world have been hit by a unique situation. A virus came but what may have been worse was the fallout from the virus. People have been told to “stay home”, “stay safe”, but what has been the risk to those who have been staying home and staying safe? For many, they have been socially starved. There are those who are in care facilities who would have normally had family and friends visit and help keep them positive and engaged, and now they have not been able to have people visit. The “disease” of loneliness can be just as fatal as the virus we have been trying to avoid.
Social distancing, which really should have been coined “physical distancing”, has had its ill-effect on people, and some of the effects are heartbreaking. It is easy to say jump on a video call with friends and loved ones to maintain contact, but how about those who are aged, ill, or simply not capable of having a video call?
Humans are social beings. We long to connect, to reach out, to hug, and to mingle with others. The unfortunate weight of this lockdown has been such that the powers that be have ordered not only sick or at-risk people to be locked down, but healthy and generally not at-risk people to be quarantined.
What is the cost?
Those who are unwell, or who have been affected by the virus, have been disallowed visitors. No friends, no family members. Just isolation. Those infected and not expected to recover were allowed the last phone call with their relatives, something likened to a prisoner’s last days. People who have been married for decades have had to say their final goodbyes through a window. Some were never afforded the wave or last phone call.
Sure, there are happy stories of those who were able to spend more time with their families. Parents have been able to spend more time with their children, and people have been able to work from home and spend less time commuting. These are the happy stories, the silver linings on an otherwise black cloud.
But ultimately, my heart breaks for the suicides that have gone up in numbers, the increased domestic violence cases, the jobs lost, the kids that have not been able to see friends or go to the park and have missed out on school and graduation ceremonies, for those broken-hearted over the last minutes lost with a loved one.
To me, this has all been so much more devastating than a virus.
As the lockdowns lift, take a moment to reach out to those who have been isolated and alone. Go and visit those who have not had visitors. Take a friend out for coffee, enjoy time with your kids at the park.
Now is the time to recover from the effects of this virus. Now is the time to LIVE!