I‘ve lived through a lot of traumatic experiences, from being torn away from my birthland Ethiopia as a seven-year-old and arriving in America as a political refugee, losing my dad in 2001 to lung cancer, watching my mom struggle with depression for most of my life to losing everything and becoming homeless for two years in 2015, life has been anything but a crystal stair for me. Yet given all those painful memories and the countless bouts of ennui that I’ve endured as a consequence of repressing flashbacks that I did not have the wherewithal to deal with, 2020 stands out as the most trying year that I’ve ever lived through.
I write this article as one part therapy to reflect on the distresses of last year that still haunts me and as a means of giving aid and comfort to others who are still trying to mend from the crucibles of the past 16 months. I know there are many here in the states and throughout the world who struggle to make sense out of what is truly senseless and struggle even harder to come up with the words to describe how they feel after their lives were inverted and their mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends and co-workers were taken before their time. I hope you find comfort in the personal experiences you are about to read.
When stories about a mysterious illness that had emerged in Wuhan, China started to trickle out at the latter end of 2019, at first I did not pay that much attention. In an era where everything is treated as a national emergency and breaking news has become a business model for mainstream media as a means of drawing eyeballs, I mostly tuned out when the word Coronavirus started to appear in headlines. However, as account after account of a deadly virus wreaking havoc throughout Wuhan started to be pumped into our collective conscience, what started off with nonchalance morphed into a growing apprehension.
Once the virus crossed oceans and arrived in America, my apprehension metastasized into panic. My wife and I were newly minted parents; I had to learn on the job the duties that come along with being a father while having to worry about a pestilence that could darken our doorsteps. Every time I changed my son’s diapers or held him in my arms trying to put him to sleep, the thought of a plague harming him kept interrupting my thoughts and got in the way of enjoying my time with a child I’ve been praying for most of my life.
Shortly after Coronavirus reached the United States, my employer announced that everyone can work remotely. Around the same time, it seemed like society had lost its collective mind. I still remember how there was a run on toilet paper and the eerie sense that death was about to be upon us each time I went to the store. My wife and I initially barricaded ourselves in our house afraid that this virus would invade our homes and take our newborn son away from us. Once I was given the leeway to work from home, we made a decision go be with our in-laws in Queens, New York.
In hindsight, this was not the wisest choice; if New York was the epicenter of Coronavirus, which it was, New York City was the epicenter of the epicenter and Queens was the dot of the epicenter. Though we ended up at ground zero, I’m still grateful that we spent the first few months of the pandemic with my in-laws and that my son was able to temporarily live with his grandmother, an arrangement that reminded me of Ethiopia where I grew up at the lap of my grandmother.
As much as we were comforted by the fact that we were staying with my wife’s parents, being in New York City was far from a respite from the reality of Covid-19. We remained indoors 99.9% of the time; taking out the trash to the chute was an act that induced horror and required a mask, gloves and dousing my hands with disinfectants as soon as I arrived back inside. The few times we wandered outside, it was only to shop for food and promptly return back inside.
Where NYC was once a city that never slept, a pandemic took a chomp out of the Big Apple and lulled more than 8 million people into a coma. Every time I visited Queens prior to 2020, I was used to saying hello to strangers and striking up conversations with random people on sidewalks. Not so last year; all a sudden strangers became possible vectors of a disease that could snatch your life; neighbors were all transformed into pathogen carriers to avoid. I’m not resorting to hyperbole when I state that 2020 broke humanity’s collective spirit.
This nightmare was rudely interrupted with an even bigger ordeal a few months after my wife and I arrived in Queens to be with my in-laws. On May 2nd, I received a call from my sister that transformed Covid-19 from a news story into a personal tragedy. I learned that day that my mom Sara Shewangizaw contracted the dreaded illness and was transported to the Emergency Room. We wanted to leave Queens immediately until we were informed that we could not visit my mom because the ICU was in lockdown for all but patients and workers.
In between work, taking care of our son and living through the fright of New York City that had turned into a dystopian reality show, we got on calls every couple of hours to get updates about my mom’s condition. After initially showing signs of recovery, she took a turn for the worse and was put on a ventilator; the glimmer of hope we were given was replaced with darkness that still resides deep in my heart. I am eternally grateful to the doctors and nurses who made it a point to contact us frequently, pray with us and even call us on Facetime so that we could see my mom as she labored to breathe. In all honesty, this is the first time I reflected to this depth about my mom’s death; I learned a long time ago to pretend that nothing was wrong when disturbing events arrived at my door.
It breaks my heart to write this about her and relive the terrors of seeing my mom as she was transitioning before our eyes. The traumas of seeing my father Fikremariam Million intubated when he was battling lung cancer, the painful memory of seeing him struggle to pull out the tubes and the blue lights that went off in his ICU unit as he coughed up blood shortly before he receded into a sleep he would never wake up from were revived as I witnessed my mom struggle to stay alive. Less than 24 hours later, my mom succumbed as a cytokine storm ravaged her body and took her away from us. We buried my mom on May 15th, 2020; the woman who gave birth to me was lowered into the ground and her presence was replaced with only memories of who she once was.
What I wrote about my experience last year is not unique to me; to the contrary, there are countless millions of people who underwent the same agonies of losing loved ones as their worlds were turned upside down by a virus that seemed to come out of nowhere. This is why I tell people to be empathetic and patient with each other instead of trying to scoring cheap points to advance personal beliefs even if I fail to live up to those standards at times. Though I have no plans on getting jabbed with experimental gene therapy cocktails, I understand how the shock and awe of last year has made people take steps that they would not have otherwise taken. Fear is a powerful motivator; after all, I once looked to Fauci and Cuomo as saviors when I was cowering in fear in Queens last year. We are a people—as a nation and a global citizenry—who are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder; what is needed more than ever is compassion instead of bashing one another while politicizing something as agonizing as this pandemic.
As much as I plead for forbearance towards our fellow humans, when it comes to the despicable people who intentionally drove us into this state of hysteria, compassion is the last thing that is on my mind. We now know, after Fauci’s emails were released last week, that Covid-19 was not a natural phenomenon but a manmade pathogen that was created either at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, at Fort Detrick here in the United States or most likely both. The same Fauci I saw as a saint was actually a devil who was funding gain of function research which paved the way for the emergence of Covid-19.
More than 650,000 Americans and 3.5 million-plus people throughout the world died needlessly because mad scientists, bankrolled by factions within the US government, were playing God and creating a super virus. Given that a few months before the first case of Coronavirus was reported, a global exercise called “Event 201” outlined the steps to take “if” a Coronavirus emerged in which they stated that their end goal was a global “vaccination” campaign, it is evident that Covid-19 was planned in order to inject billions of people with mRNA and adenovirus boosters.
When the head of the Wuhan lab published Covid-19's partial genome in Feb 2020, she omitted a key genomic sequence that would have been an "easily identified" "fingerprint" of its "gain-of-function origin" — the sort of research that the lab was doing. https://t.co/EKAmokuIsN
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) June 7, 2021
Though I will never get it through the courts or from acts of our government, what I want more than anything else is accountability and justice. It’s only because of my faith that I have not allowed my mom’s murder to drive me into a state of bitterness or to commit violent acts. There are many who think they can keep getting away with committing malfeasances with impunity, but where there is hubris, shortly thereafter comes the fall. Throughout human history, tyrants have been able to rule with iron fists until they commit an act of overreach. Aristocrats in France and Nicolae Ceausescu, to name a few instances, learned the hard way what happens when they go too far only to swing in the wind once people say enough! The “invisible hands” who have commandeered governments and opinion leaders throughout the world might have finally overplayed their hands; in the name of God, I ask people who prop up these malicious serpents—especially men and women in the US military and beyond—to finally walk away from the puppets who serve their Masonic masters and instead stand with the people.This is dedicated to the countless millions who lost their loved ones to C0vid-19; may our pains be fleeting, may our hearts mend and may those who unleashed this virus meet the fate they deserve. #TogetherWeMend Click To Tweet
As for the rest of us, the marginalized super-majority of humanity, I beseech you to be kind to one another and to stop playing into the divides. For those who are already “vaccinated”, I pray that you made the right choice and that my weariness about the jabs is proven untrue over time. I also ask you to not become enforcers of the state; the establishment are giving you special rights and status in order to deputize you and have you police the rest of us who choose not to comply. Germans learned the hard way in the 1930s and 40s that the marginalization of others based on their identity or beliefs eventually boomerangs and burns everyone down. For those who refuse to be jabbed, don’t mock people who made a different decision and realize that they are operating in fear just like we all once did. We are all in this together; either we band together to defend our common interests or we will meet our final dissolution.
To my mom Sara, I love you dearly and miss you daily. A long time ago, after watching you struggle with depression and seeing you make harmful decisions as a consequence of trying to cope with your unending sadness, I allowed my hurts to build a wall between us. I wish I could have told you more often how much you meant to me instead of turning to dissociation because I could not bear the reality of how much you were suffering. In your absence, I convey these words to you that I should have told you when you were alive. My empathy, my capacity to look at issues from a different perspective and my writing abilities are all endowments you gave to me. Most importantly, the way that I love humanity without bias to identity and speak against the divisions that splinter society is due to your heart and wisdom. I love you and miss your smile mom—may you rest eternally in peace.
“Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life.” ~ Anne Roiphe
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