Friday, 20 March 2020

Covid, Parents and Guilt

It's Friday evening, and I'm sitting here at my digs in a bundle of guilt.

Regular readers will know how on any given weekend I'm likely to be found working on the parents' farm.  That, indeed, was my plan for this weekend, until over the last ten days Covid-19 sent the world into a state of acutely nuts.

In what world should this be necessary? 

Well, I spoke to Dad by phone earlier today and said that I really wasn't keen to come up: both he and Mum are pushing 80, and neither is in the strongest of health.  As I ran the numbers, if they pick up Covid, their chances of dying are somewhere between 20-30%.  I feel fine, but the way I live means there's a decent chance I'll carry it up with me: I work in the CBD.  I use the tram once or twice a day.  I live in a house with ten other people.  Since this thing can be transmitted in the absence of symptoms, I'm a pretty bad risk.

None of which altered the disappointment in Dad's voice, or the guilt I'm feeling over letting him down.  I help people.  It's what I do.  If I don't do it, then there's really not a great deal of value in me.  And now, the best thing I can do for my folks is not to do the thing that principally does help them.  This, flatly, sucks.

What sort of illness seems purpose-built to corrode the bonds that should exist between people?

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