My PC has been open on this exact page for over 1 week. I’ve written and re-written this post a thousand time. I wanted to say something. To free my mind from some long-lost thoughts on this whole situation. This terrible situation. But the truth is that I don’t know what to say.
I would like to write down some positive aspects. But it’s too easy for me to say this, when I am in a privileged position. I am privileged because I have food on my table. I am privileged because I have not lost a job (I didn’t have a job before anyways). I am privileged because I have a credit line I can use in this difficult time. I am privileged because my dear ones are safe. I am privileged because I don’t have to provide for someone else. And I know all over the world it is not like this.
My dad this morning called me and gave me the bulletin of who died this week. Some people I knew really well. Some people I’ve barely spoken to. But each and everyone of them meant the world to someone. That client I couldn’t really stand much, he passed away, leaving his wife and children with a wound it will never be fully closed. That couple I used to see every summer, spending more time in our hotel than at their estate, they both passed away… the woman at 3 am and the old man at 3pm the same day.
I was reading an article yesterday. About people struggling to pay for their essentials. People struggling to pay for a piece of bread. And I can’t help but wonder: did we really eradicate poverty in the “Western, developed World” we all so proudly celebrate? And if we still believe so, why don’t we have a safety net for those that are very vulnerable to poverty?
I have a very vivid memory of something that feels so surreal right now. On the 27th of January I was taking my flight back to Lisbon after a long weekend in Italy. Life was normal, or probalby on a high. The semester had gone great, I had my very first consulting interview scheduled, my grandma and grandpa were doing fine, my dad was doing fine. My boyfriend’s career was finally going the direction he wanted to. I felt like every piece of the puzzle was finding its fit. Before going to the airport, my uncle told me: Stay away from the crowds! And maybe take a mask. He was referring to Covid-19. Way before it was a thing. Back then, there were no cases confirmed in Italy (though in a couple of days they would publish the news of an infected Chinese couple in Rome). My dad and I laughed. And now I know it was probably the last thing we shall have done. But honestly, back then Covid-19 seemed such a distance reality that we didn’t even feel threatened by it.
And then it happened. “We have the first case confirmed in town,” I remember my dad saying. And then it was a matter of days before my uncle told me “Everyone has it.” Everyone. It’s the harsh truth of sickness: it doesn’t care if you were a good or a bad person, if you were loved or hated, praised or feared, rich or poor. Sickness hits you. And by the time it does, we finally realize that nothing, literally nothing, shall be valued above health and safety.
I wish I could take that laugh back. I wished we started taking precautions way before March. I wished we used gloves and masks and kept our social distancing. I wished we could contain the spread without blocking borders and blocking relationships. I feel lost, in a sort of limbo, when I think about the physical and emotional distance between myself and my dear ones. I feel like even if we were 2m apart, we would be on two different, parallel tracks. And I am scared about what is going to happen to us, when this thing is over? How can we look at ourselves in the mirror, knowing what we’ve gone through?
I can only begin to imagine what my dear ones in Bergamo and province are feeling. The feeling of despair. The sense of guilt, rotting inside ourselves: why did I survive and he/she didn’t?
While we be back stronger? More united? Hope is the last thing to fade off, and maybe our only option for now is praying and hoping and believing in a better tomorrow.
I can’t really say Have a safe journey! now, so please have a safe home! stay home. take care. reach out if you need to.
One final note. A professor I deeply respect and admire always closes the mindfulness sessions saying: May you be happy. May you be peaceful. May you be well. This is my wish for you today. May you find your happiness in this hard time. May you be peaceful that you’re doing everything in your power to help and protect your loved ones. May you be well.