[Note, this piece was written on January 23, 2021, just four hours before Myron Chartier, father of Tim Chartier died.]
With each vaccination, the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel grows brighter. We might be brave enough to look to that light. But, to lean on Amanda Gorman’s penetrating words, we must be brave enough to be the light in this dark journey.
As my fellow American, be my light as my tunnel is very dark. My father lies in a bed with labored breathing. He is dying, having tested positive for COVID-19 on his 83rd birthday – the day before he was to receive his first dose of the vaccine.
I cannot see my father or hold his hand as he dies a mile away and a world apart. My story isn’t unique. We know this. The news is filled with family after family mourning losses. As President Biden said, we are in a national emergency. Our journey through the pandemic is collective. COVID-19, our national foe, only strengthens when we succumb to our fatigue of this war.
The day before the inauguration, the death of over 400,000 fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, partners, friends, mentors, and leaders were remembered at the reflecting pool at our nation’s capital. We must remember these deaths to heal. We must heal to be strong. We must be strong to win the war.
My father will take his last breath in coming days, possibly even today. My father will not survive this pandemic. So please, be the light in this tunnel. Social distance. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. It takes we the people of the United States. Our actions in this time will help form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. And, as Amanda Gorman recited, “We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.” Be the light. This hill we climb is steep. War will leave us battered and bruised. Yet, we can emerge beautiful.