We've had a number of people in our life come very close to losing their battle with COVID. But as of yet, no one we knew "up close" had passed away. Until yesterday.
Laurie Townsend (affectionately known as "Punky" when we played basketball together at Western Kentucky University) was 11-years-old when her father died of cancer. Her mother, Jane, remarried, Bob, and for the last 27-years, he has been Laurie's step-father. He was always around during my years on "The Hill."
Bob was an outstanding step-father. He was a father to Laurie and the grandfather of her twin sons. Jane and Bob were an amazing team, and I am hearbroken for Laurie and Jane and Laurie's brother Landy and all the grandkids today.
Here's the thing ... my husband, in the ER, he sees this so often. He sees people come in and not come out. It's sad. But as of yet, they've only been acquaintances. We almost lost Danny Lewis, his boss at the hospital. We almost lost Toni, our dear friend here in the community. We almost lost Jeremy, our neighbor in Bulls Gap. But so far, we hadn't lost them.
But Bob puts a face with this pandemic.
It's so easy for people to say: "The death rate isn't that bad." As of today, 252,000 people in the United States have died from COVID. And while most people don't like to hear this, my husband will tell you that number is actually much higher due to how deaths are configured. But let's say it's just 250,000. That's a quarter of a million people with at least six months of this pandemic still in front of us.
This is real folks. Take it seriously. Please. Please. Please.
For us, it's been real from the beginning because my husband sees dead bodies. I don't know how else to say it. He pronounces people dead. He sticks tubes down throats to try to save their lives. He runs "codes" to try to bring them back. This makes it very real when he sits across the table from us at dinner.
When people try to say: "This is a hoax," John just shakes his head because they came and took a body to the morgue from a real person who died of this disease.
And not just COVID. People are dying from other things too ... more ... because they are waiting to come to the ER. They are sicker. Everything is "off kilter."
To the entire Smith/Townsend/Burt families .... I love you all. I am so sorry that COVID had to touch close to home to people that I love and admire so much.