On Facebook, David Spencer suggested I journal isolation. I respect the man and think he should be listened to. So, here goes…
I’ve been avoiding the news because it makes you paranoid and you can’t guess what’s a reliable source and what’s not, but then today, it occurred to me, “This is a worldwide experience and being able to turn off is a privilege in itself, I should face what we ALL have to even if some of what I’m told is skewed.”
I turned on Channel 4 News and watched people in Ecuador where health services are so under-funded and morgues are so filled to the brim that there are black body bags and wooden coffins wrapped in plastic lining the streets.
Families aren’t able to bury their loved ones, their bodies being kept at home for 4 days at a time, the smell becoming so bad (hot country), one family moved from the house and slept on chairs outside.
I thought of the way Dad started to smell the second day. The day after. The day we asked for them to pick him up.
There is NO smell like it. A smell that triggers a fist that thrusts upwards from your gut so you dry-heave over the toilet.
There is NO touch like that, of running the tips of your fingers over the waxy skin of your loved one. Fascinated and distraught. I thought of how my fellow humans will be howling and holding on to members of their family who have died, like I did. How even with expectation, the feeling of loss is shocking and this virus swept in so quick, they’re probably still gasping at the idea of a pandemic, let alone the wack of death.
Watching my fellow humans wail at the injustices of a country gripped in poverty, taking gardens spades and forks and striking bone-dry earth to dig graves themselves, waiting days outside of cemeteries, made me realise JUST how privileged I am. To be able to turn off.
The smell of death is a memory for me, for now. In Ecuador, it’s present and everywhere.
Channel 4 News ended with a violinist and pianist playing together, isolated in their flat, a haunting piece that made my hair stand on end. Then they showed images of New York, Paris, Venice, London, streets eerily empty as if we’ve abandoned living.
I thought, “How beautiful the world is without us.”
Then I turned off.