In years to come, when time has passed and the edges of memory have softened and mellowed with age, we will sit close together around a table, or snuggle up in front of a fire or walk arm in arm under a clear blue sky and tell stories of these days. We’ll laugh and sometimes shed a tear or two. We’ll raise a toast to those who did not make it through and we will remember.
We’ll remember how we stood on balconies and front porches and clanged pots at 6pm every day for weeks on end to honour the heroes of these days. The nurses and doctors and lab techs and hospital porters and emergency responders and schedulers and cleaners and so many more who risked their lives so we could live ours without fearing each breath would be our last. And the researchers, labouring long days and nights, weeks and months garbed in hazmat suits and protective shields just to find a vaccine to help preserve lives for years to come.
We’’ll talk about how heroes didn’t wear red cloaks and carry golden shields but donned brown and blue and tan coats as they drove all over the country to ensure we received the things we needed. Things to eat. To read. To listen to. To play with. To keep us amused. And laughing. And feeling alive and less alone.
How there were heroes who stood behind plexiglass screens and sanitized counter tops again and again after we visited stores where we bought our necessities and smiled with only our eyes visible through our masks.
How we greeted each other with a wave, careful to keep our distance and how the distance between us felt so foreign. Lonely. Far. Even when we stood six feet apart.
How hugs became a rare commodity, so precious some would risk their lives just to get one. And how some did risk their lives, not just for hugs but to ease the loneliness, the pain of being separate from the rest of their human family.
And how some chose to stand united against the things they could not stand for — Wearing masks. Social distance. Stay-at-home orders. Like all of us, they wanted their voices to be heard. It’s just their way was different.
And hopefully, we’ll talk about how those of us who did our best to abide by stay-at-home and wearing-mask orders struggled to understand how others could not grasp the severity of our situation. And how, our condemnation and judgement of those who suffered these times in different ways than us became a greater distance to traverse than the loneliness we all felt during these days of sheltering-in-place.
There will come a time when we will tell stories of these days and while we may not remember them fondly, let us remember how we each did our best to weather this storm. And how, while someone’s way may have been different, they too were doing their best to make sense of it all and to make a difference in whatever way they knew how.
And as we remember, let us let go of our human tendency to condemn those who think differently, believe differently, express themselves differently. Instead, let us cross the divide of our differences so that we can celebrate having come through these days of a global pandemic sweeping the globe, together.
Let us not remember our differences but instead, let us share our memories of love for the millions of lives lost, the millions of lives fallen ill, the millions of lives forever changed.
Let us remember our loved ones not with the regret of not being by their bedsides as they struggled to take their last breath, but rather, of all the times we sat by their sides laughing and sharing in the love that binds us in life, and in death.
Let us remember we were all struggling. Believers and non-believers. Mask wearers and non-mask wearers. Instead of making outcasts of those who did it differently, let us say a prayer. For one another. And in our prayers let us hold onto what connects us, what makes us who we are, what makes this human condition so remarkable.
Our humanity is not one colour, one belief, one common roadmap. It is diverse. Colourful. Multi-faceted. We stand on deserts and mountaintops. We walk on gravel paths and paved roads. We swim in salty oceans and freshwater lakes.
And still, we breathe air into our lungs. We flow blood through our veins. Our bodies are supported by skeletons made up of bones, 206 in every adult body. Our body is covered with the epidermis, no matter the colour of our skin.
In years to come, when we look back on these times and tell our stories of grief and hardship, of great feats of heroism and simple acts of kindness, let us remember to speak with gratitude and grace and kindness in every word we share about one another.
Because, in times to come, when we speak of these days, we will be speaking of ourselves. Of we, the people.
All of us. Coming through this. Together.
Let us carry with us the memories of how, no matter how dark the day or long the night, we never lost sight of the Love that binds us. The Love that brings us into this world and carries us through every day of our lives. For we each come into this world in the same way. Crying. Kicking. Gasping for breath. And we all leave it on one final breath.
And in between, though our lives may be different, let us remember that it is our capacity to love one another that connects us. Through good times and bad. Dark and light. Life and death.
In years to come, let us tell our stories. Let us remember. And let us hold onto Love.