To stop a virus like SARS-CoV-2 from spreading feels as possible as to stop the water from moving once you have thrown a stone in the lake. Even if you — with great effort — do succeed with constraining the movement of the water with magically implanted walls, then when can you be sure it’s safe to remove those walls again? The water is going to need to be completely and utterly still before you do. Will it ever be? When a virus like SARS-CoV-2 have decided to kill off 1-3% of the human population, maybe all we can do in the end is to let it.
My mother and father called me on Skype. Death was obviously one of the more prevalent topics in our conversation. Father shared with me that they have started to write a final will, a testament to give to me (and my sisters) in case the virus reaches them. They are in the risk group and they made the same math as me: it will be very difficult stop the water from moving. In that very moment I already saw them dying. It made me feel so much heart-aching sorrow…
Now this threat of death seem closer. Suddenly it is tangible, more than what has been heard from rumors. This is clearly going to have emotional effects. I seem to have been wearing a logical distance to the actual reality of that there is a virus out there and that it can kill just about anyone at any given point. This is going to be felt, whether we like it our not.
I like it.
Yes, I do. Because it feels. That shows me that I care and that makes me feel alive. Life seem to be so incredibly empty without that caring. In me there is a constant longing for this paradox — that death is needed for life to feel meaningful.
In the front seat of my own decay
I have been bed-ridden for a couple of days. Most likely am I to be counted among those who got infected by SARS-CoV-2. It caught me somewhere in the east of India or in the north of Myanmar, where I traveled through about three weeks ago. Those areas are like the wild wild west in matters of public health. From there you will never find any reliable statistics concerning any virus. It might as well be more people infected there than anywhere else in the world. These seemingly existing states are barely functioning societies and the border between China and Myanmar is not under full governmental control, so it is simply impossible to discern or regulate the movements of people there. How can the moving water ever become still with conditions like those?
From sitting in the front seat of this experience I can share with you that the virus has been a quite intense thing for me. When the body starts to hurt in the lungs in a way that has never been felt before and I can do nothing but wait and see — then it’s quite close at hand to get a bit impatient and even scared at times.
But(!) as I mentally calm down and this physical state is being accepted, then even death becomes a mysterious adventure. We tend to forget that it is. We tend to focus on the first part of life a lot; growth, hope, vitality. And we tend to think that this is what life is about. Aren’t we missing 50% of the whole experience? Whilst the spring and summer of life, with all its vitality and hopefulness, surely is a nice part of this experience, wouldn’t you say that also the decay and death is as important? How can it be less beautiful?
”But but… you are so young. It’s not your time yet.” I have heard different versions of this. One client of mine is so stuck up with the idea that death is supposed to come when she wants it to come, not when death itself have decided to come. I repeatedly tell her: ”Death comes when it comes, whether you want it or not.” For most people this fear of death is a constant sub-conscious pain, resting like a coiled snake underneath all other mental activity. Even though few people seem to acknowledge that and most would instead readily find other things to do than to ponder those feelings, one can still glimpse in everyone the snake lying there, waiting.
I feel quite certain that I will not die this time, but it is good to be reminded, because one day I will and so will you.