As I write on Easter Thursday morning, the death toll from the covid-19 pandemic is approaching 30,000. The Trump administration continues to fumble in overwhelming incompetence. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. And I’m a prime target for the pandemic: of advanced age and minus one lung lobe (due to cancer). Worst of all, I’m mourning the loss of my friend and partner, Su Patterson, who died on 31 March.
And I’m isolated. I can’t meet with friends or colleagues. I can’t socialize. I can’t even come within six feet of other human beings. At a time of intense grieving, I must manage completely on my own.
For all that, I know I’ll get through it. I’ve always been a loner. As a child of six, with an alcoholic mother and a father never home who ended up in prison, my well-being was up to me. I learned of necessity to be self-dependent. I came to distrust others who might let me down.
It worked. Better than that, during my thirteen years in an out of Vietnam, my self-reliance saved my life many times. My assignments after 1975, when Vietnam fell, were equally challenging—though I can’t talk about them because they’re still classified.
In sum, at one of the worst times of my life, when I am grieving over the loss of someone most dear to me, it is up to me and me alone. I can do it. I always have.