A funeral is for the living
The steady climb of the death toll from the pandemic is once again ramping back up as more people are exhausted from living like… well like we are living in a pandemic. Misinformation and outright lies are being passed around as truth. What’s worse is the people arguing that COVID is not an issue treat the incredibly high and incredibly senseless amount of death that is a direct result of callous disregard for others as an acceptable price for the right to be selfish. I saw enough senseless death in the military to want to be the direct cause of more. But maybe that’s just me.
I’ve been lucky because I don’t have a real family in the traditional sense. No parents that I care for, no brothers or sisters. No one to mourn if COVID took them. I’ve watched a friend lose an aunt and uncle just a month apart from COVID. I’ve seen it effect others, but I’ve been lucky in that sense. You have nothing to lose if you have nothing to start. Sad, but you get used to it. That doesn’t mean I’m a stranger to death though. I’ve seen plenty of senseless deaths in the military. I’ve buried my military brothers. I’ve even been called a bastard for living, or worse. I’ve watched with dry eyes as we’ve said our goodbyes. That’s not to say I don’t cry. I do and I grieve in my own private ways, it’s not a manly thing, it’s a guarded thing. It was already a hard life before the pandemic entered the picture.
To say I felt guilty about the death around me would be an understatement. We make promises to family of the people we serve with. Promises that they will be safe, that they will come home. Promises we know we cannot keep, promises no one could keep. But we make them anyway because there’s a good chance that the loved one your deploying with will come home. Being able to give someone a goodnight’s sleep is as much a gift as it is a burden. But we did it anyway, because the odds are in our favor. They were promises we kept more than we broke and I like to think that more than justifies making them.
So yeah, I’ve been to just a few funerals in my time well before the pandemic was anything but a horror movie plot. I think funerals are for the living. We don’t REALLY mourn the person that’s gone, we mourn the hole left in our lives because that person has been removed. I mourned the loss of my Uncle and I still mourn him, but it’s not him, it’s all the stuff that’s happened since he’s gone that he never gets to be a part of now. Stuff like graduations, where I could’ve had an actual blood relative there to celebrate with. My Uncle was a good man in a shitty family and of all the funerals I’ve attended his hit me the hardest.
You don’t know my military family or my Uncle. I could tell you stories about how my Uncle was probably the best human I’ve ever known. Kind when he had every reason not to be. Caring despite the life he had or the challenges he faced. He was the kind of man I aspire to be. However, there is roughly a 100% chance you never met the man. You didn’t know him and while you may be able to empathize, his passing means nothing to you. That doesn’t make you a bad person, we don’t miss the people we never knew existed. It’s okay, you can feel bad for my loss, but acknowledge it doesn’t affect you. It doesn’t make you a bad person.
Maybe as a society we’ve lost empathy. I don’t know what else to think when I see the deaths from COVID climb higher and higher. Because for me, it hurts. I don’t know those people, but the sheer number of death is staggering. Yet I hear people arguing that it isn’t high enough for them to care. Here in the US we’ve lost more people to COVID than we did during World War 2. That is so much death that your brain literally cannot process it. Seriously, I’m not being hyperbolic, the number is so high that it means nothing to you because you have nothing to compare it with. Someone gets shot and it hurts, someone nukes an entire city and it hurts far less. Scientists have studied this phenomenon, half a million deaths from COVID just doesn’t have a real impact (a study on this)(and another)(and another)(you get the idea). This is a well known phenomenon so when I say we have over 621,000 deaths due to COVID-19 here in the US, it doesn’t do anything. Which I would like to take the time to again remind you that I can promise this number is a drastic UNDERcount (here)(here)(here)(here).
This is death on a scale you cannot comprehend and the worst part is that it doesn’t have to happen. It’s senseless death, death that if you’re not wearing a mask when you go out in public, you are directly responsible for. I mean I don’t know how many sources I need to cite in a post for people to pull their heads out of their asses and realize they are killing people due to their own inaction. YOU as an individual have the freedom to get blackout drunk. Go fucking nuts, do it daily for all I care! YOU as an individual also have a responsibility that comes with that freedom to not endanger the people around you by driving while drunk.
That’s the price of freedom! It comes with just as much responsibility. Apparently people have forgotten that part, you have all the freedom in the world to not wear a mask, but you have a responsibility to stay home if you want to be reckless like that. I’m a Marine, I bought into the fighting for freedom stuff a long time ago. I’m all for freedom, but there’s responsibility that comes with freedom and people are getting far too lazy and far too fucking selfish to acknowledge that.
In short, masks save lives. They protect OTHERS from YOU. My mask doesn’t do nearly as much to keep me safe from you as it does to keep you safe from me. We have a responsibility to each other, one that means I wear my mask because I don’t want to be the reason you die and I hope that the social contract we’ve agreed on means you’ll wear one to keep me and others safe as well. Masks work and I’ve cited so many different fucking sources showing this I don’t want to bother with others so I’ll just cite myself (here). If you want to disagree pull some fucking numbers or take your opinion and shove it up your ass I’m tired of arguing with people because they think their opinion has as much weight as the facts.
You have the right to get blackout drunk just like you have the right to not wear a mask. I would hope you would do the responsible thing, but there are no laws forcing you to wear a mask or get vaccinated. There should be, but there are not. To be fair, there are laws that say you cannot drink and drive, yet roughly every 52 minutes someone uses their freedom to drink, get behind the wheel of a vehicle, and kill someone (source).
So fine, you want your freedom to not wear a mask and you don’t want the responsibility that comes with that freedom. I cannot stop you, clearly logic, facts, and statistics won’t do it either. But what kind of person is okay with being the direct cause of so much death? Maybe that’s the real problem here.
Wear the damn mask, please.