Pandemic Disappointments Proliferate
If everything goes according to plan, next week I will get my second dose of the Moderna vaccine. When the government started rolling out vaccinations in late 2020, my main concern was getting inoculated by the first week of May.
Unfortunately, that target date recently became irrelevant with the cancellation of our trip to an out-of-state wedding.
Although I had heard plenty about the event, no “save the date” card or invitation had appeared. Before making a reservation at the hotel where another family member will be staying, I thought it wise to make sure we were invited.
I placed a phone call to ask. That’s when I discovered the couple had to make some tough, pandemic-influenced choices. We fell just outside the “inner circle” who had received an invitation.
Pandemic Slashing Guest Lists
The day after receiving this disappointing news, I mentioned it to a friend. He told of his daughter getting married in January and being forced to cut the guest list from 300 to 30.
What’s worse, because they were planning to go on a honeymoon, the couple had to be tested for the virus.
When his son-in-law’s test came back positive, they weren’t allowed to use the old theater where their church meets for the ceremony.
No honeymoon, either, after a wedding in the parking lot in frigid temperatures. Memorable maybe, but not the kind of nuptials most people would prefer to experience.
Missing Special Times
The wedding is the second special, extended-family gathering we will miss. The first was our great-nephew’s high school graduation last year on Long Island.
It was postponed twice and wound up being held after the family party our nephew had planned for the day of graduation. With all the uncertainties about travel and quarantines, we decided to stay home.
Ultimately, we watched the ceremony online. It was one of six over two evenings, designed to following social distancing protocols for 350 students and their parents.
The whole thing was over in 30 minutes, even with speeches by the valedictorian and salutatorian. Since the people walking across the stage lagged the announcement of names, the only way we knew our great-nephew was there was our glimpse of his bright red hair.
Serious Loss from the Pandemic
Of course, measured against more than 550,000 deaths, these disappointments would strike those who have lost loved ones as complaining about mere inconvenience.
It’s true: our disappointments can’t compare to someone who has lost the most precious of treasures.
At the same time that we need caution during recent COVID-19 flare-up, we must also remember the lives destroyed by social isolation. Suicides, depression, interrupted schooling, and other ailments are up.
Stories like this November feature from The Washington Post say it could take two years after the pandemic for experts to measure the suicidal impacts.
A more recent item in Wired chronicles the story of Joe, a business owner whose video game addiction blossomed during last year’s shutdown phase.
While much of the story looks at the increased problems with video game addictions, it points out that the pandemic has exacted a serious toll on our mental health.
Dying from Isolation
I’m not here to complain about government leaders who take steps they consider necessary to protect the public in the midst of a fear-inducing, bewildering, all-out assault on the nation’s health.
Yet, as we move forward in a still-tenuous situation, I hope we never return to the fearful stance that seized the nation in 2020. God created us for community. Without it, we can die from a lack of socialization.