May 26th, 2020

Many among us are heroes


By Lethbridge Herald on March 28, 2020.

LEAVE IT TO BEEBER
Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald
abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com
Not all heroes wear capes, as the worn-out cliche goes. Just look around and you will clearly see our heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those heroes are our front-line health-care workers — the doctors, nurses and nursing home aides who risk their lives every day to protect ours. Those heroes are our police, firefighters and paramedics who go to work every single day making sure our city is safe and those with emergencies are assisted.
Those heroes are the truckers spending long hours on the road getting needed supplies of every kind to our stores.
They are the staff who toil in grocery stores stocking shelves and assisting customers.
These people we owe dearly for everything they do to keep our communities running. Grocery store employees are the unsung heroes among us, people who deserve our respect every time we grab a basket or shopping cart.
The pressure they are under has to be immense and these men and women deserve our utmost respect. They don’t know if the customer who just asked them for help is carrying COVID-19, or if the person whose groceries they are ringing through a till is ill.
They don’t know if a snowbird has stopped in after crossing the border instead of going directly into quarantine.
All they can do is hope that this virus won’t afflict them and their families.
Our police and firefighters are in the same position. How do they know the people they are inter-acting with are healthy? They don’t but they do their jobs anyway. And of course, our paramedics face constant danger because of their work.
The staff in fast-food restaurants that remain open and full-service eateries which have converted to take-out operations face the same risks to their health, many of whom also must be worried about losing their jobs as they fill diminishing customer orders.
And of course, our health-care workers risk their lives ever time they see a patient, or deal with a resident in a nursing home. The stress all of these people are under has to to be immense.
We also need to give a bow to dentists and optometrists who are ready and willing to deal with emergencies.
All of them deserve the utmost consideration we can give them.
These are the most difficult times any of us who didn’t live through the Depression have ever suffered through.
All of us have to be worried about catching the virus and remaining employed. The emotional toll and stress on our global community can’t be overlooked.
I’ve barely slept in the past couple of weeks because all night I’m wondering about the future, trying to figure out how to make it through this pandemic.
I’m a worrier by nature and COVID-19 has sent my fears into overdrive, especially being asthmatic and over 60. And I’m not just concerned about me, I’m worried about family and their futures.
It can be overwhelming at times and I see how this might drive some over the edge. It is a horribly depressing and frightening situation.
I hope we all get through this with our health, our jobs and our communities intact. But I worry every single minute of every day.
There is no escape from it, not at the dog park where fewer walkers are keeping their distance way more than usual, not in front of a television set and especially not on the internet. Nowhere is there an escape from fear and worry.
And I sincerely doubt there is an escape in a bottle, which I imagine some among us will be turning to in a misguided effort to dull the pain and ease the stress of the uncertainty humanity faces in this dark and foreboding time.
The only thing we can do is hope for the best, believe in our capacity as human beings to overcome all obstacles and to support each other. We need to reach out to each other virtually to show our friends, families and even strangers we are all in this together.
We will all survive together if we support each other.
Just because we can’t be physically near each other, doesn’t mean we have to be emotionally distant.
Through our cellphones and social media, we in this era are far better equipped to offer emotional support and encouragement than previous generations who never had our technology.
Now is the time to use that technology to uplift each other, reach out to each other and unite as a neighbourhood, a city, a province and as a country.
We need to stand together and boost those who begin to falter. We have to share the weight and help carry the hopeless, the tired and the fearful among us toward the dawn of the day when we can finally shake each other’s hand, walk beside each other down the street and share a meal in public again.
We need to kick to the curbside our politics, our religious beliefs, our cultural differences, our personal baggage and unite to face this unseen and ever-present foe with courage, grace and dignity.
Together. In unity. As one.
Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter.

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