Such is the paradox of Covid-19.
To avoid passing on the disease we are urged to stay at home. If we do venture out, we must practice social distancing and wear masks that hide our smiles. Under these conditions, meaningful contact with others is pretty much impossible; even communicating with the person at the till is difficult, when words are muffled by masks and barriers of shiny perspex.
The feeling of being cut off from everyone else is almost surreal. And because we humans are social beings, this feeling of isolation sparks other feelings of depression, hopelessness and sadness.
But then, the worst happens. We actually get Covid-19. And suddenly we find that we aren’t alone at all.
We are swamped with phone calls and WhatsApp messages from friends expressing concern, offering prayers and volunteering to do whatever they can to help. We may feel like we are more connected, to a wider circle of people than ever before.
This is what happened to an elderly lady at Tafta Lodge recently. When she tested positive for Covid-19, she was made aware as never before of the kinship shared by all the residents of the building.
Just like family, they rallied round to offer support and practical help … anything she needed … as well as assurances that she was in their thoughts and prayers. It was an outpouring of love, intended to uplift and sustain a fellow being in her hour of need. Above all, it gave Mrs E the comfort of knowing that she was not in this alone.
As she battled the disease, and eventually recovered from it, Mrs E was constantly amazed by the kindness and support she received. So much so that she said it had given her a new outlook on life, experiencing the humanity and care that still exists in the world.
Being a Tafta resident, she was well aware of the huge responsibility we have to so many other people. This made her even more overwhelmed and grateful for the personal, compassionate attention she received. It made her feel important and valued, and helped give her the will to overcome the debilitating virus.
Mrs E never felt that she had to battle the disease on her own. Even while she was in isolation, she was touched by the patience, understanding and encouragement of our social worker and staff. Her condition was closely monitored by the building supervisor, who checked on her regularly. Fellow residents also rallied round to offer assistance.
“I urge you to continue your great work for it is never in vain,” she said.
We will never know why our world has been afflicted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Some feel it is a wake up call to curb our exploitation of the animal world, or some sort of pay back for all the damage inflicted by the human race.
But perhaps, the lesson it has to teach us is that we are not alone – and that caring for our fellow human beings is the most important thing we can do.