Today is the first day that all schools are closed in the Czech Republic for the next two weeks due to the global spread of the coronavirus. Our kids’ school is continuing with schoolwork, but all communication will be conducted online for the duration. Meanwhile, gatherings of over 100 people have been forbidden throughout the country.
From what I’ve seen online, people seem to have mixed feelings about this virus (SARS-CoV-2) and subsequent disease (COVID-19). A lot of people seem to think that the whole situation is blown way out of proportion. Others are making a run on toilet paper at their local Costco.
I personally believe that being cautious and taking the situation seriously are in everyone’s best interest. It is true that only a relatively small percentage of people become critically ill due to the virus, and an even smaller percentage die from it. But if hospital beds are full and respirators at capacity due to a sudden spike in infections, as is currently being faced in Italy, many more people will die. And that would make the situation even more tragic than it already is. So staying at home as much as possible and being careful when you do venture outside seems like the best way to protect your elderly or immunocompromised friends and family members from this threat, even if you personally are young and healthy and unlikely to be impacted by the disease.
I have always believed that facing the scary unknown like this is an opportune time to be mindful; to take a look at your life and to come to an understanding about how you feel about your place in the world. Will this particular disease (which I do believe will eventually spread) end up killing me? Probably not, but the possibility isn’t zero – and neither is the everyday possibility of dying in other completely unrelated ways. It’s a sobering prospect, but I’ve faced death a few times before, so it’s not alien to me.
Which brings me to how I feel: if I do die during this pandemic, or in some other fashion, I won’t be disappointed. I am grateful for the several decades of life I’ve spent on this planet, during which I have experienced a great many wonderful things. I’ve been extremely lucky in the family department; I grew up feeling loved and appreciated, and I now have children to whom I hope Yvonne and I have given the same love, care, and nourishment that my own parents gave me. Meanwhile, said children are good, kind, and very bright and curious, and if I should unexpectedly pass from this Earth somewhat before my time I hope more than anything else that they will continue to lead happy and fulfilling lives as they themselves experience the world and what cultures and experiences it has to offer, and make positive changes to their planet and to the people they encounter as they take their own walks through life. And I somewhat selfishly hope that, once they themselves are older and established, they will remember just how much Yvonne and I cared for them, and how often we worked hard, moved from country to country, and otherwise did whatever we could for them to find their own paths to happiness. So when I do die, don’t feel too sad for me. I am very thankful.
This all sounds a whole lot more deep and depressing than I meant it to, so here’s a picture of me at the nearby Lidl. The shelves are empty, which originally led me to believe that something had run out (though it wasn’t toilet paper, they did have that). But then I noticed that there are no price labels on any of the shelves. So maybe they’re just empty shelves?