Friday, December 18, 2020

Poetry Friday: Do not go gentle into that good night (because Covid is not a good night)


The last time I posted here was the day I ordered Covid tests for both of my parents. 

They were both sick; both tested positive. Mom is not over it yet but she's getting a bit stronger every day. Dad is in the hospital. 

This is an insidious, brutal, unpredictable virus. It goes after a body with impunity, wreaking havoc wherever it can, searching for weaknesses and loopholes. 

My dad is 86 years old, but this was not meant to be "his time." I come from a long line of people who live a long, long time. Mom and Dad reside in a retirement community but live independently. Dad drives, writes novel after novel, goes to local writers' meetings and conferences (or at least he did, before this pandemic.)

When the pandemic hit, we all took precautions. We wanted to keep my parents safe as well as protect our immunocompromised daughter. Our visits with Mom and Dad in the last nine months have all been at a distance. We wore masks, my family stayed outside while Mom and Dad stayed in their apartment and we visited through a screen door. For eight months, their retirement community did an admirable job of keeping the virus at bay. Not a single case made it through the front door. But in November, that changed. Mom and Dad continued to be vigilant, going out only for doctors' appointments. Somehow, one of them caught it and then they both got sick. 

And so now Dad is in a hospital bed, surrounded by doctors and nurses who are trying to save his life. So, yes, I will rage against this virus, I will rage against those who cavalierly speak of this virus affecting "only the elderly" and "just the immune-compromised" and those who say, "Only 1% will die, so what?" Every single life is meant to be treasured. Souls are not meant to be turned into statistics to kick around on Facebook. 

I will not go gentle into that good night. Not under these circumstances, not with this virus, not with this pandemic, not with my father's life. 

Do not go gentle into that good night 
by Dylan Thomas 

Do not go gentle into that good night, 
Old age should burn and rave at close of day; 
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 

Though wise men at their end know dark is right, 
Because their words had forked no lightning they 
Do not go gentle into that good night. 

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright 
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, 
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

(Read the rest here; the poem's still under copyright.)


Michelle Kogan has the Poetry Friday roundup today. 


jama said...

Oh, Karen, I'm so sorry to hear about your parents. Your rage is justified and then some -- especially unfair is that those who are careful to take precautions still become infected, while those who continue to deny the disease somehow manage to get by. I pray that both your mom and dad will be okay. Take care and stay strong!! And do keep us updated.

Liz said...

Karen, I am so sorry your dad isn't doing well. It certainly looks like group situations for the elderly are one of the risk factors no matter how vigilant the institution. My SIL's mom died of Covid at an assisted care place this summer and the majority of deaths here in Vermont have been in nursing homes. I do understand the rage. I will continue to pray for your parents, especially your dad.

tanita✿davis said...

Holding you and yours in the light of God. I'm so sorry - and YES, this is not a "gentle, good night" to go into. Rage - and we rage with you. This, on so many levels, is so wrong... ♥

Ruth said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this, Karen! I agree with you that each soul is precious, and it has sickened me how people have been so willing to dismiss the seriousness of this pandemic. Praying for your family right now.

Janice Scully said...

I'm so sorry that your father has to suffer so in the hospital. So many tragic stories and families grieving. Thank you for sharing that fitting poem.

Linda B said...

I am sorry to read about your parents, glad your mother is doing better, sad that your father is not. My daughter & I were just talking last night about how enraged we both were. She just found out that three of her husband's family have Covid, probably another who lives with one. My prayers are with you and your family, especially now with your dear dad. The poem is an apt one. Sending hugs!

Kathryn said...

Karen, I'm so sorry to hear this. Hoping and praying that your father soon turns a corner and your mother continues to recover.

Tabatha said...

Oh, Karen! This year has brought so much unfairness (and selfishness) to grapple with. Your father sounds like a peach. Wishing him and you the best xo

Linda Mitchell said...

What a perfect poem to rage with. I am so very sorry that this virus has touched your family this way. It's not at all fair that those being careful still have to fight for their lives. I will keep your family in my prayers. What a treasure your Dad is. Hugs to you all. Please keep us posted.

Karen Eastlund said...

Sending prayers your way, your father's way... that he will return to full health. No life should be taken lightly, I agree. I feel your rage and pray it may turn to joy.

penelope said...

Oh Karen, I am so sorry to hear this news! I will be holding your parents, all of you, in my heart and prayers! This is a vile scourge.🕯 🙏🏻🕯

michelle kogan said...

So sorry to hear about your parents Karen, sending thoughts and healing prayers for both. My mom is 87, lives on her own, and we are all trying to keep her safe. Your rage is more than justified, thanks for sharing the timely Dylan Thomas poem, xo

Carol Varsalona said...

Kare, I am saddened to hear of your parents' plight. Covid is an insidious virus. I, too, know of its horror and how it creeps into corners least expected. my 92-year-old uncle lives in a secured assisted living facility that we thought was a safe haven. Somehow COVID entered the building and w0 residence got infected. Some staff members are also at risk at home. My uncle has been rushed to the hospital twice in two weeks. Today, I thought it was a good sign that he received a med that Trump received besides a strong antibiotic for pneumonia while in the ER-no beds available. When I called him, I got his caption phone and was shocked that he was back at the facility. He is alone far away. My sister is his executor but she was not notified. Life is fragile and uncertain so we need to rally against the virus. Mask Up but many do not. Thoughts and prayers are lifted for your family.

Mary Lee said...

Rage on, and may your strength and our prayers and your father's longevity be enough to bring him through this.