Perhaps the word that better describes what we have experienced during these years of pandemic is the verb ‘to lose’. 3,218,006 people have died in the world in the worst pandemic that has affected the planet. In Europe it is only comparable to the Second World War. In one day, 3,000 people died in India as a result of COVID 19. Lives lost forever.
Nothing can be compared to the death of a person or to the silence and mourning that death leaves when it snatches someone from their beloved relatives who are left speechless in the face of this terrible loss. Lives have been lost and the future that we had envisioned for us is also lost.
With the dead of someone, memories and special moments have also been lost. Weddings have been cancelled, travels postponed, and classes suspended and so on. What had been, in some cases, meticulously planned, has been left in suspense because it is not possible to foresee a clear exit to the virus today. In other words, it is becoming increasingly clear that it is impossible to resume the plans that we had made because we have no control over the way in which new variants of the virus are going to move, or how the vaccines are going to react. The best health centres in the world and governments only dare to speculate about it.
The areas which are under our control are limited: wear masks, follow the advice of our governments on health matters, get vaccinated, etc. Does this situation of tied hands leave us only in the role of obedient sheep? Not.
Against all odds there is something, perhaps counterintuitive, that we can do: make sense of this moment of liminality. We have not fully emerged from the pandemic yet; but we are no longer at the beginning. Today we are still in the night of this pandemic, in the depths of the night – India, Brazil, Peru, the United States – but the dawn is looming. Death has spent the lives of rich and poor. Death has traumatised institutions, governments, homes, families and communities. That is why the slow work of mourning is to what we must dedicate ourselves now, right at this midnight. We cannot return to normality; we must begin to accept that we have also lost normality and we must watch over it until dawn.