COVID affecting seniors

by Jim Brace-Thompson


As I stood at the podium in a gazebo at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster, facing a masked audience, we all laughed and we all cried—and some, who didn’t care about mandates and protocol, were bold enough to hug.


We were there to celebrate his memory. A man who died in a Los Angeles County hospital so overcrowded that he gasped his last breath on a gurney in a hallway after telling his wife via a computer screen moments before, “They don’t care about us old guys. They’re just treating the young ones.”


Despite taking all precautions and cocooning himself, David got it from a granddaughter who apparently got it at the bank where she was a teller. And now, here we were. Bidding David a fond farewell.

Back home, my wife and I returned to my 90-year-old mother who suffered COVID at approximately the same time at the height of the pandemic before such things as vaccines were even on the table. What is now called a “long-hauler,” Mom had had to give up her home in Nebraska and had moved half a continent away to live with the only child who would take her in here in Ventura.

Hard words to say, but perhaps David had it better.

On our way home, Nancy and I passed the County of Ventura Government Center. An unmasked crowd had gathered with Trump flags and banners declaring “Don’t VAX my kids!” Cars honked as they passed. Me? I gave them my middle finger. At home, Mom didn’t even seem to notice we had been gone for nearly the whole day.


“No,” said my wife, removing envelopes and junk-mail papers from the trash bin. “These go into the recycle bin, Roberta.” She had told Mom this some fifty times already. And we would do so some fifty times more. Day in, day out. COVID had stolen Mom’s ability to process short-term memory, and each day was Ground Hog Day. Over and over again.


If you don’t think you need to get vaccinated; if you think it’s a “deep-state” hoax and Biden conspiracy; it you think you are safe: Think again. Meanwhile, just this past week, our next door neighbor’s daughter went to school on Monday and came home with COVID, variety Omicron, on Tuesday. We are not at the end. Quite frankly, I believe this has only begun.

To all deniers: Wake up! It’s here. It’s real. It’s killing people. It’s taking away their minds. It’s attacking their children. It’s making their families grieve and struggle as never before since World War II in a living hell.


It’s real. And it’s devastating to all those it hits. And it is far from over. Listen, and be safe. If not for yourself, then for David, for Mom, and for little Gillean next door.

Editor: Is this an opinion? We couldn’t decide so up to you.

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