Life in an Age of Death

We live under a black, hideous, cloud of death. From the moment we wake up in the morning through the evening, it is death that confronts us.

In the morning, as soon as we open the newspaper, our computer, etc., we read about deaths. How many are expected to die, how many have died so far, how many died yesterday, today, how many died in the city, this state, the other state, the country.

Hardly a day passes that our newspaper does not record the death of one of our compatriots from the coronavirus. The vast majority of them lived in New York. However, there are many who lived elsewhere.

I am sure, however, that the number of deaths from the virus that come to our attention is a small percentage of the total. I believe that their number is much higher than we know. Unfortunately, these peoples' passage through life will not be recorded anywhere, except in the memories of their relatives and friends.

There is no good or bad time for someone to die.

It is not our choice whether or when we will die.

But these must be one of the worst times to die. Not because of the number of deaths, but because of the situation in the hospitals, especially the lack of personal protective equipment. The worst thing about dying today? The fact that one dies alone. Because relatives and friends cannot visit. There is no chance for loved ones to say goodbye, and even at the funeral – once the preliminary issues of losing someone are overcome – only a few can attend, and we must make our farewells from a distance.

We are forced to talk incessantly about inhumane and macabre things. A legacy of the time of the coronavirus.

And in the midst of all this tragedy are doctors and hospital staff living their own nightmares. Because they can't offer patients substantial help, even if they have ventilators. And because they can't even protect themselves in the absence of personal protective equipment.

More than a few doctors have died of the virus themselves, including some who could not withstand the pressure and committed suicide.

The heartbreaking news that the medical director of the New York Presbyterian Allen Hospital, Dr. Lorna M. Breen, 49, committed suicide, was published just a couple of days ago.

“She tried to do her job, and it killed her,’’ her father, Dr. Philip Breen, told the New York Times.  

Such a tragedy.


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