Grateful That Some Missed the Pandemic
My mother died in 2013 and I’ve often thought of her as things have changed since then. It was bad enough that for a few years her governor was Arnold Schwartznegger, but at least she never saw our current president take office. My mother died during the Obama administration and sometimes I envy her that.
Because her life is over, I sometimes use her as a proxy for my life. I’ll see a movie about a meteorite colliding with Earth or read a novel about the electromagnetic pulse and think, “Is that likely to happen? No. My mother lived her whole life without a meteorite killing everyone or all electricity stopping forever, so I probably don’t have to worry about that.”
I know it’s illogical, but I’ve clung to the comfort of knowing that as many awful things as my mother had to face, she didn’t experience anything on the scale of a zombie apocalypse or a global pandemic. Up until now I’ve told myself that means I’m likely safe from those things, too.
Now I have another reason to envy her 2013 check-out date. It turns out I get to face one of those catastrophes after all. My mother was born at the end of the 1930s, so she missed both the 1918 pandemic and the coronavirus. Lucky her. I feel particularly envious having just read Umair Haque’s views on where our economy is heading. His analysis scared me more than anything else I’ve read.
On pensions, my parents wouldn’t have faced the financial devastation of many, but as delicate as my mother’s health was at the end, I’m certain she wouldn’t have survived Covid-19. In 2013 she had a stunningly well-attended funeral, but that couldn’t have happened if she’d died now. And I’m glad she didn’t have to go through the panic, dread and paralzying isolation of this time.
It’s painful to say good-bye to someone who feels irreplaceable in your life, but I wonder how many others feel some gratitude that their loved one didn’t live to endure what we’re all going through now. This idea might be the thinnest of comfort, but I’ll take any comfort tonight.
Get further inside my head: Chicana on the