I am a senior, 80 years old and thankfully still blessed with energy and health, and I want to talk to the younger people in our community.
I need to acknowledge first that the selfless heroes who are working for the community through this time, in stores and hospitals, as home visit nurses, caregivers and so on are also “younger people,” and know better than any the dangers and concerns that this pandemic holds. There is no need for me to be appealing to you.
But if you are one who feels that this health scare thing has very little to do with you, please consider what I have to say. I have never been so dependent on others for my well-being as I am now that COVID-19 has arrived.
This is strange for me, as I and my generation have been the ones to be giving and considering. We have taught you at school, organized scholarships, handed out treats for Halloween and donated to fundraisers when asked. We’ve tried to do our best to smooth the path for the generations that follow us. But now I and my fellow seniors need to ask for your support and assistance at this upside-down situation we find ourselves in.
Because now it is more dangerous for us to go to a store to buy groceries, to meet with friends, even to get too close to strangers we pass on the street while walking. And no matter how we stay away from all the things we normally would be doing, you still have the power to break through our defences and infect us, just by doing what you normally do – as if it were still a normal time.
But it is not a normal time. It is a time when a cough, a breath, a careless touch can cause a devastating illness, possibly death, in a complete stranger or in a family member. Your bicycle ride right past someone on the path, your unmasked presence in a store, your walking toward us on a narrow sidewalk – simple things you do without thought – can have terrible consequence for us or for vulnerable people we love if you happen, unknowingly, to be carrying this virus.
So I appeal to your better nature, to your sense of fairness and concern for others, to do what is asked at this weird time. Please, if you see me walking toward you and your friends, step a little aside so that I don’t have to pass too closely to you or cross the road just to stay out of your way.
Follow all those guidelines for getting together safely with friends, however unnecessary they may appear to you. And please wear a mask whenever you are in closer contact, even though you may be absolutely sure you are well. All this protects me if you aren’t, and it gives me some confidence in this fearful time that we are in this together protecting every person in our community.
I hope to still be able to share and give and support when all this is over, but I need your help to get through it right now.
They say it takes a village to raise a child; now we who raised you all are appealing to you to be cautious and protect us in return. If you are already aware of these things and acting on them in your own lives, accept our deepest thanks. Every mask, every step-aside, every offer of help, contributes to that great sense of community and caring that makes this world a better place for everyone.
Helen McFadden, South Surrey