It’s almost numbing; the daily body count of the dead and dying in New York City. Earlier this year I wrote several stories on how challenging it was to cope, at this stage of life, with all my friends and family who departed in 2019 and in February 2020 – none of those deaths were related to COV19 – and all were natural. Since February, it is has been surreal, almost like an unrated movie that is banned from public viewing. One can only imagine what thousands of friends and family are living through in a script yet unwritten and destiny yet unknown.
It is sad because the pain is uneven, even in New York. In upstate New York, there are places such as Saratoga, that are barely impacted by the body count crisis; the grocery stores are stocked, the hospitals are intact and the people watch New York City as if it is a developing country.
For me what made the tragedy take root is when someone I knew fell victim to the disease. A few days ago the news came that an elderly friend and mentor couple had contracted COV19 and were admitted to the hospital. I can’t articulate the rush of emotions that went through me. I remembered our meeting, our engaging conversations, I recalled their many consultations on life and living. Then the news came last week that one of the two succumbed. For a moment I was sad. Once again I began the grieving process. I remember the last time I saw him was during a business networking meeting on February 27th, he was seated, as usual at the head of the table encouraging, motivating and inspiring as that was his calling. I remembered the last time I talked with him; he called me on March 10th to share that his doctor had advised him not to attend meetings with large crowds and as such he could not speak at our event on March 9th. This larger than life, mentor and friend left a legacy from the Caribbean through Brooklyn, through Albany that will be remembered by many.
What lifted me from a spiraling emotional decline was visually viewing hundreds of photos and memories of the mosaic of his life. The many gatherings at his home; the many meetings at Brooklyn Navy Yard; the collaborations with many organizations as an advocate for small businesses; the global support of many people; the smiling faces of his wife, children, and grandchildren. In those moments, in that time, I understood, he had fulfilled his destiny, and his time had come to go home. That thought brought to me some peace.