I’m So Sorry For Your Loss. Oh Wait, They Weren’t Vaccinated? Well Good Riddance!
Human empathy is sooo pre-covid.
Very seldom does a celebrity’s death bring me to tears. I loved Betty White and Bob Saget as much as the next fan, but I never met them personally. So I admit I did not cry actual tears when they passed away.
But three words in my husband’s recent text message punched me in the gut: “Meat Loaf died.” I literally gasped and searched online for corroborating news. Yes, it was true. The electric powerhouse, Meat Loaf, whose energy, stage presence, and knockout voice struck a chord in millions, passed away.
Crushed, I cranked up “I Would Do Anything For Love,” “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” even “Hot Patootie,” while I worked. To my surprise, tears flowed from my eyes as Meat Loaf’s voice wailed in my ears.
I never met Meat Loaf. I never even saw him perform live. Yet something about him, about the way he repeatedly conquered health issues, his gregarious personality, his human-ness, made him relatable to me.
My heart broke for his grief-stricken daughters, wife, and other family. Having lost my mom when I was 28 years old, I know all too well how the loss of a parent knocks the wind out of a person, out of their childhood, and leaves them reeling for years to come. I imagine it will take a long time for Meat Loaf’s daughters to process the loss of their beloved father.
I sought solace by reading the outpouring of sympathy from other fans in various online forums — comment sections following articles, Twitter, YouTube comments.
It helped to hear other fans’ pain, how much Meat Loaf’s music meant to them. Reading the stories from people who knew Meat Loaf personally also soothed the sting, even though I know there’s a possibility that some (or all) of those moving stories are not true.
Cause of death: Covid(?)
Within hours of the announcement of Meat Loaf’s death, reporting by TMZ quickly changed the tenor of the sympathies pouring in. According to TMZ, Meat Loaf had died of complications from covid. As of this writing, this has yet to be officially confirmed.
Of course it did not take the internet long to remind the world of Meat Loaf’s biggest sin — voicing opposition to masks and vaccine mandates.
Online trashers gave the larger-than-life singer a larger-than-life epithet, a quote from a recent interview, “If I die, I die. But I am not going to be controlled.”
When I went back online to read more tributes to Meat Loaf, the vitriol drowned out the genuine words of condolences that flowed in only hours earlier. An avalanche of hate pummeled through the memories of the Meat Loaf songs that got fans through their teenage years.
I don’t know what it’s like to have a parent who is a public figure. I am guessing children of celebrities have to develop a certain level of toughness or ability to ignore haters to keep their sanity intact.
Normally a cruel comment from an anonymous stranger online induces nothing more than an eye roll from me. But some of the comments made about Meat Loaf after his death made me wince on behalf of his daughters. We have all likely seen enough cruelty online, so I won’t repeat any of it here.
This powder keg’s about to explode
It is obvious and understandable that people have reached their breaking point. Two years of this horse shit has pushed people over the edge. People who refuse the covid vaccine and masks have become easy targets.
I understand the anger and frustration. No one expressed the fury quite as well as this guy:
But it saddens me to see that the rage has also cut off the ability, or at least the willingness, to feel empathy for the loss of human life.
Early in the pandemic, I was surrounded by people on extreme ends. I had a close friend who for years has believed the healthcare industry is just a profit-driven predator designed to enrich large pharmaceutical companies by keeping masses addicted to medications. This friend flat out denied covid’s existence and did not believe reports of numerous deaths from covid. Subsequent vaccine mandates just confirmed her belief that covid is a ruse designed to inject all of us via vaccines with a “quantum dot tattoo” that will house everything about us and control our every move.
Couple that with my sister’s experience as an ICU charge nurse. My sister and I are very close, both in age and in our relationship. It is hard to stomach the stories she has shared. ICUs filled beyond capacity with only 1–2 nurses available to provide round-the-clock care for their critical patients. Unvaccinated patients who come in, denying covid’s existence and resisting the vaccine, with oxygen saturations in the 70s (they should be above 90% on room air). Watching patients’ oxygen saturations nosedive. Holding the hand of a young, 30-something patient with covid who looks in my sister’s eyes before she is about to be intubated and pleads, “I don’t want to die.” Dealing with rabid family members who fight the hospital staff, disobey mask orders, insist on providing their family members with Ivermectin. Watching patients who are sedated and paralyzed in order to be intubated die alone because their family members cannot be with them.
I cannot possibly do justice to the experiences of ICU nurses in this one article. Their experiences deserve far greater attention and cyberspace that I will save for another time, not for fuckin’ claps or read times, but for posterity.
I know the toll covid is taking on hospital staff, on families. Seeing constant death and constant fighting takes a toll on any human being. That is the main reason my immediate family and I are vaccinated.
But I also know what it is like to lose an unvaccinated relative to covid.
Loss in the age of covid
Early November 2021, one of my relatives and her husband and kids came down with covid. It was a rough go. The baby daughter was hospitalized. But ultimately they recovered. All except for the father/my relative’s husband. The father, a young, healthy 35-year-old with no underlying health conditions simply did not get better. When his struggle to breathe became unbearable, his wife took him to the ER. He never came home again.
He developed ARDS, acute respiratory distress syndrome. Eventually he became intubated. He developed bed sores and pneumonia while he was sedated and paralyzed. Tragically he passed away just days after Christmas. His 5-year-old asked, “So I’m not going to have a daddy anymore?”
Anyone who has experienced loss and grief knows the searing pain that words can never fully convey.
Before our loss, covid seemed like an ominous cloud that hovered everywhere. It blocked the sunlight and shaded everything we did. It lingered. Now that cloud has brought a torrential storm, leaving upheaval in its wake. The cloud doesn’t just hover over us anymore — now it envelops us completely.
Somehow the pain becomes so great it shoves away judgment. It leaves no capacity to entertain foolishness or finger pointing. The pain leaves no room for “what ifs.” It is just too much. And it is compounded by the joy others take in watching the voluntarily unvaccinated die from covid, some going so far as to say they deserved to die.
I understand of course that it’s easy for strangers to piss on the graves of other strangers if they are targets of boiled over rage.
I also understand that with the continued decay of humanity, of our capacity to feel empathy, we are truly fucked.
We are social creatures. We cannot function in a society where we tear off the flesh of fellow human beings, where we relish in the raw meat, chew it out and spit it on the doorsteps of grieving relatives. Something is eventually going to give, and it will not be pretty.
There is nothing I can say to plead with humanity to give a shit about their fellow human beings; not when those human beings have ceased to be human in their eyes.
But the stripping of each others’ humanity cannot and will not sustain us.
To anyone who is listening or reading, if you are suffering, I care. And I’m sorry. I may not know you. I may not know everything you are going through. But I know you are a human being and by extension, a relative. I do care. And I am sorry for your pain and your loss.