Only the vulnerable will be at risk.
What a strange response to a threat… to downplay or make light of your own risk by pointing out the more substantial risk to others.
I get it though. I wasn’t always the keeper of an “only”. And honestly, I’ve probably been guilty of doing the same thing.
I recently heard the response, “your only, is my everything.”
And nothing has ever rung more true.
All these “onlys” you speak of, they are all someone’s people.
For every one of these vulnerable humans that seem so distant and separated from yourself, there is an entire tribe of people sitting in the shadows loving them.
And I can tell you exactly how the families of the vulnerable ones are feeling right now…
We feel vulnerable.
Even those of us that are completely healthy.
We feel naked, and exposed, and vulnerable.
We walk a ridiculously fine line between worrying too much and feeling like we aren’t worried nearly enough.
It’s a constant battle between our crushing anxiety, and the roll with the punches attitude those of us with medically complex family members have acquired inorder to survive.
It’s panic attacks.
It’s shortness of breath, not from a virus, but from the dark thoughts that creep up and squeeze the air from our lungs, no matter how hard we push them down.
The thoughts that we normally don’t allow ourselves to think, are getting harder and harder to keep at bay as the cases keep piling up.
Our reality is that every single day can feel like a pandemic if we let it.
Every little cough can leave us wondering if sickness is about to hit, because it would hit our house extra hard.
Now, I’m not looking for pity, none of us are. These are just the cards we were dealt, it’s not our fault, and it’s certainly not yours. Someone will always be more vulnerable, that’s just how sickness works.
I know it’s hard to put yourself in the shoes of the vulnerable ones, or their family members. As compassionate as I would like to think I’ve always been, I never fully got it, until I was it.
And if you don’t fully get it, you’re one of the lucky ones.
One would think I should envy you, the one who doesn’t care. The one who must not have that much to lose. But nothing could be farther from the truth.
That compassion I thought I had before? It’s nothing compared to the empathy and compassion I know I have now.
There’s something about watching the most vulnerable person in your life fight to survive, that quite literally brings you to your knees, while simultaneously changing you for the better.
I am not belittling anyone’s feelings. I understand this is scary, I understand how angry you are, and I understand that it’s an inconvenience.
I am not downplaying the financial burden, the added stress, or the sadness of missing some of lives biggest events.
But, I am asking you to be just a little more kind.
I am asking you to stop reminding us that “only the vulnerable ones will be at risk”. We are well aware that our lives would be devastated if this hits our household.
I am asking you to follow the rules set in place. Stay home. Leave only for essentials, or to go to work, if you yourself are essential.
I am asking you to put others first. Put the “onlys”, the vulnerable ones, first. Just for a little while.
Let’s keep safe the ones who can’t keep themselves.
Stop hoarding all the toilet paper.
And for the love of God, wash your hands.
The beautifully mediocre mama of your “only”