I’m trying to wrap my thoughts around the current global pandemic. There’s so much information being presented to the public. It’s challenging to compartmentalize all of it. You do your best to be aware of the perspectives of others.

For me, this pandemic has highlighted how broken and disjointed this world is. No surprise. We live by different values yet when the human race is “attacked,” we cannot agree to protect it, to protect all of us. Many of us think we are invincible, an exception to the risks of COVID-19. For others, making money or trying to “go back to normal” is more important than protecting life.

NEWS FLASH: there is no going back to “normal.” If you’re complaining about how bored you are or how you cannot get your hair colored at a salon during a shelter-in place mandate, you obviously are living a privileged life. Good for you, but don’t put others at risk. Are we that disconnected with the rest of the world?

My sister was recently voluntold to be one of two nurse case managers to manage the COVID-19 floor at her workplace, a rehabilitation hospital in New Jersey. It is designated to take the overflow of COVID-19 patients from the main hospital nearby. I asked her what she was most fearful of, and she said, “When you choose to be in this profession, you know part of the job is risking your life to save another.”

She makes extra efforts to connect her COVID-19 patients with their family members virtually. She said it means a lot to them. Compassion and connection are key.

One of my childhood friends is a nurse at a Washington state hospital and she recently said, “I’m in the frontlines with my colleagues and we’ve never been scared of our own mortality. We are low on supplies and hoping that we can get help from local companies to make them.” She also asked for communities to please stay home unless necessary.

I am fortunate to live in a state where most residents are thinking about the bigger picture: protecting lives, protecting each other. What makes Hawaii special is aloha—love, compassion, kindness. It’s the heart and soul of Hawaiian culture. Residents and local companies have stepped up to help minimize the negative impacts of the global pandemic and it’s working.

In honor of National Poetry Month, I captured my emotions in a poem below. Stay safe, healthy and optimistic.

Show Aloha

We are divided by our values—
Health, family, money or aloha.
Our priorities determined and we move
towards what we believe is utopia.
It’s MY life, MY body, MY world.
Not OUR world, not together.
It’s ME. MY friends. MY FAMILY.
Thinking of others, what? Another stressor?
I need a pedicure and my hair done NOW!
I’m “home,” abused and starving again.
Will anyone know what I need? You need?
Or what we strive to defend?
Freedom, food stability, right to bear arms,
white privilege, women’s rights but not the human race.
COVID-19, showing our flaws, bringing us together
in hopes we see each other. Show aloha. Embrace.

Adapted from Profiles of Inspiration.

Edwina Pine

behindthemask mask

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