It was four years ago, to the day, when I lost my Father. Alex just spent his first night alone in his apartment, and in this house of many, we felt the loss of his presence. The State is moving forward with its plan to open. Fifty now dead in WV due to COVID-19. With death, with loss, life goes on.
It started as a beautiful day. I was at work resolving the issues of the day when I get a call from my brother Anthony that said I needed to go to the hospital because our Dad had a heart attack. This man ran five miles a day, was in good health, and recently was seen at the cardiologist and passed a stress test with a clean bill of health. So, I know that he didn’t have a heart attack, and when I get there, he is going to be livid for being rushed to the hospital for heartburn.
Heather asked if I would like for her to come. I was reluctant at first since we would just be sitting there, but I thought, what if the information was wrong. What if something happened to my grandfather, and the information was incorrect. We better all go.
We get to the hospital, I’m holding Leo in my arms, and I’m either expecting to see Dad there and to get updates on Pappaw or an outraged father due to heartburn. I did nothing more than sit down when I hear my Uncle tell my Grand-Mother, “The ambulance driver said he was dead by the time they arrived.” She then said, “Let’s make sure your Dad doesn’t find out yet; it will kill him.” My mind just shut down, and I solely focused on Leo. I gave all my attention to him in some attempt to hold myself together.
I lost my father that day, but being able to focus on my son gave me the strength to go on. I miss him daily. I miss being able to confide and rely on him. I try every day to instill the love and knowledge bestowed on me to my son. Even with death, life goes on.
We have a thousand square foot home, and with Alex’s girlfriend living with us made our census eight living souls. The quarters are tight, but the presence of love, family, and joy fill this home. I purposely didn’t use the word house, because all of us make this square built structure a home.
I have known Alex all of his life and never once thought that I would have played such a significant role in his development. From all the experiences we have shared I am proud to see the young man he has become. As parents, it’s our job to raise and mold him into a functioning adult to contribute to society, and it is now his turn to take the reins.
Finances and time stretched to the max, late-night construction builds, plumbing, electrical wiring, remodeling, and moving, we are now officially no longer a household of eight, but six. We returned home exhausted by 3 AM and received our first call; they kicked a breaker. As we sit here reflecting on our day, it started to set in; Alex is no longer home. Zach wants Alex’s old room, and soon we will need to reset it for him. I haven’t looked in yet; it saddens me just thinking about not seeing him or his stuff in there. I can feel the loss of his presence in this place, his home, our home. Even with this feeling of loss, he is just starting his journey. Life goes on.
I have learned something about myself. I am not a nervous or one to be anxious. But, when I have to go out and come into contact with others, I do start to have anxiety about my environment and if I followed all the rules or I’m not inadvertently bringing anything deadly back to my family. Don’t touch surfaces, face, rub eyes, scratch nose, wipe lips, and stay 6 feet apart. Was my credit card contaminated? Is the cash? Did someone sneeze or cough on the product I bought?
With many States reopening, more people are watching the numbers to see if there is a surge in infections and deaths. As of today, there are a reported 1,206 infected and 50 deaths in WV. Staple and Essential items clear the shelves as soon as stock. Buildings are restricted by how many individuals can be in at one time. Rows of people wearing masks practice social distancing lining the entryways. All branches of government are now feeding informative and miss-information about the virus. As the global death toll rises, life is still anew.
Spring is in the air: trees are budding, flowers are blooming, animals are scurrying. Carbon emissions are down globally by 25%. Animals have reclaimed their natural grounds in National and State Parks due to visitor restrictions. Air and water quality have shown improvements world wide. With the global effect this pandemic has had on humans, it has had a positive impact on our planet. Life goes on.