Last year when most people around me were still staying home, there was a question everyone asked — "Do you know anybody who died of COVID-19?"
The answer for many people I knew was no. Sadly, a former co-worker's mother passed away early on when the virus swept through her nursing home on the east coast. My answer was always yes, but I didn't know many.
Until October, I could count on one hand the number of people I personally knew who had lost their lives. Unfortunately, that changed. My mother contracted the virus and was very sick, but she never had to go to the hospital. However, my great aunt died a few weeks after getting ill, and my family held a funeral, which I watched live stream on Facebook. Unfortunately, her son-in-law was also in the ICU, and he's still there.
The same week, my cousin-in-law, who was under 50, also passed away after being on a ventilator due to COVID-19. A few weeks later, my last living great aunt passed away, and once again, I watched the service online.
In late December, my dad, who had avoided the virus when my mother had it, became ill, and he really struggled. One of his cousins fought the virus around the same time, and the cousin sadly passed away. My dad is still recovering and regaining his strength.
My family has lost many members to the virus, but I can at least still keep track of the ones we've lost. Sadly, as my family faced untold losses, it seemed that each day a new friend or acquaintance would announce that their grandparent or parent got the disease. They would go to the hospital and fight for weeks, eventually succumbing to the virus.
My parents have lost church members, friends, and family from this disease. I can't talk to anybody I know anymore who hasn't been touched by this virus.
I know so many people who have lost loved ones, I cannot keep count. Even former classmates have died due to this uncontrolled pandemic. I never imaged last year when I started hearing about the virus, that it would affect my family and so many other families I know. My state has had 3,187 deaths, and many of those have touched my life. It is unfathomable that more than 414,000 people in the United States have died, and more than 2 million worldwide have died in the past year.
Thankfully we have the hope of effective vaccines, but there are still so many who will not be helped by the vaccines. It is hard to imagine what life will be after this is all over.