In a New York Times article today, the subject of being alone was explored, especially as it pertains to CV19 and the upcoming holiday. In the last 24 hours, 500 people tested positive for the virus in my hometown. Pennsylvania reported 9,605 new cases in the same period of time, according to the PA Department of Health. The PA Commonwealth has counted 581,156 CV19 cases, in total, as of this moment in time: 14,442 deaths in PA since the beginning of reported statistics, 230 deaths in the last 24 hours. (LNP 12/23/2020).
The new loneliness described in the New York Times article this morning may not go far enough. Loneliness has given way to panic regarding dying alone. As I know, death by Covid can be sudden and abrupt, as I witnessed with Tomaso‘s last breath. Family adjustments after that have been rocky, at best. Tomaso‘s two sons are adrift in a misguided sea of their own.
I was a crisis intervention worker many years ago as I was getting my BSN in nursing. I was well-versed in suicide prevention by night, and submerged in nursing studies by day. I see this new CV19 loneliness to be ripe for an increase in suicide cases, and due to the pandemic, rescue workers may be scarce in the response to calls.
Healthcare workers are not immune to suicide ideation‘s, in fact numbers are rising as they fight to plug the dike of rising cases, without positive results. As many quarantine alone, suicide is easier to pull off, undetected. Death of loved ones, domestic disputes, an increase in alcohol and drug addiction lead to confusion and disconnect on all fronts.
Even as I personally nurture my own mental health, walk 5 to 8 miles a day, and actually enjoy being alone, I am haunted by the increased suffering in the world. I feel it. I pray for those who need love and encouragement.
Human life expectancy is uncertain; death may come at any time. Holding this thought, I attend to each moment with love. OM