Yet another #zoom Birthday in a Pandemic

Didn’t feel the connect honestly.
For those of us in the Canadian lockdown are feeling numb now. I’m not fed up. I’m numb. My outrage is forced, my affection too, fake.

How much we will all carry with this one year of struggle?
How many souls feel empty. Like the soul is struggling to define form, lunging blindly at the previously accepted formulaic life, but not connecting, too many empty callers at the other end, they too looking for familiar ghosts.

Does anyone think this way? That this pandemic will shift how we live & feel, procreate & build, connect & grow?

I'm not sure how evolutionary this time is, but I do believe we will change, morph into a shape different from today. How can something so catastrophic & long not cause permanent seismic shifts within & around us?

How can we look for normal with so many lives lost?
Will we forget? The desperation, isolation, loss of functionality, of no control.

10 years later will we look at these years as apocalyptic? Will we bow our heads to the body count?

How do you measure this loss?

How do we put names to the body count, to the love we will never feel now they're gone, to the companionship no more, to those hands left seeking another, the cheek seeking a caress, lips a kiss.

How do we account for the souls lost?

From weeping for a parent dying in a long-term home, to being stuck in a lockdown and unable to attend a parent's funeral.

"Jis pe betay wohi jaanay"

Loss is felt only by the one who suffers it, a poor translation at best.

They ask me how I feel, and I say I cannot forget the body count, from the deniers to the arrogant, to those who have no choice.

Each life lost was precious, and the afflictions such a these make death a statistic, soulless, with no agency and no story. Every life & death has A journey that must be recognized & given its due. To die of #covid shouldn't be the only remembrance we give to them. But how do we commemorate the million-plus losses & more to come.

What action will register it as important? History has forgotten even major catastrophes And this time too will be insignificant to future generations.

How little value we put then on life & how much we ploy to make it individually valuable to us.

I'm reminded of these words sang by Rajesh Khanna in Kishore Kumar's voice in the film Aap ki Kasam 1974
Zindagi ka safar hai yeh kaisa safar

This song poignantly addresses the grief of a young man dying of cancer. He complains of his life unlived, the dreams that couldn't be walked on, the friendships he mourns, the love that couldn't be his.

It has been a favorite song since I was young, but now, it’s achingly true. The feeling of #loss, of impending doom, the fact that it cannot be measured in personal measurable, neither qualitatively brings #hopelessness. Such is the #COVID19

Callous, cold, solitary, infinite to those who see its effects, either by getting infected or as friends & family or as just like us, countless again, measured as millions in lockdown, a quantitative humanoid, suffering statistically impossible to record.

For who can say how difficult it is not to travel to meet a parent or a sibling? How many stories will they record?

Of daughters crying quietly on the prayer mat, for not saying farewell to a father. Who records the grief they live now? Who records the grief of my friend Sunila, who lost both her parents to #COVID19 within 2 weeks? Who will see the emptiness inside & be able to scribe them?

We are at loss, even as we write threads, bake banana bread, run, attend weddings or berate prime ministers.

Some avoid it, knowing that walking in mourning is an overwhelming experience.

That humor today is a coping mechanism.

If this thread is morbid, like me, you too can switch off & start working, solving puzzles, or watching mindless @netflix shows.

But when the show finishes the numbness calls you. You are bruised you notice, even stitched in places, like your pretentious existence. Like the Yesteryear screen goddess, you two play the crowd, reminding the crowd of your past glory. You wear the crown, however, tarnished with time, struggling to walk straight. Everyone knows your situation but you fake it because it makes you feel better.

So like the goddess you carry on, baking cakes, posting the stories, looking for likes.

But can others see the rot? As your flesh becomes loose, the cartilage thinning, the slow bending back. Can they see your half-hearted attempts to clear the wrinkles with the dry concealer?

As degenerative we are today, were we also pre #COVID19?

Or has the death count amplified our condition? I think not. To be surrounded by death & grief of the pandemic is a significant event occurring globally. Even the two World Wars had not impacted all countries.

I carry the deaths of people known to me. But those I can still name. The burden of a million lost lives & counting is grief unparalleled. How insignificant we are to deal with it. Wars have killed millions, even in my life, I’ve read about genocide, my friend has worked in a NGO that identifies bodies with DNA. But again that was an event that was far away, lost in history, in a regional conflict between Bosnia & Herzegovina. More recently I read about the ruthlessness of Japanese soldiers in the Philippines against British, US & Filipino soldiers But you draw parallels of wars being brutal & unforgiving.

#COVID19 is a pandemic. It structures to affect everyone without bias, anywhere. It has no friends nor enemies. It's an unseen attack, with real casualties. The stuff of cheap science fiction novellas only the jokes on us.

#pandemicreflections #grief #loss #mentalhealth #casualties #death



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Sophia Ahmed

Finance professional with a passion for Startups, philanthropy, education & writing