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The kindness of COVID-19

Feb 12, 2021 by optima

Ok so everyone celebrated the festive season and new Year, but does it really feel like a new year?

I had These thoughts pop up in my mind, over the past few weeks. We did celebrate Christmas, in an unconventional way, without family, but… did we really celebrate? Or did we just “wish” that the nightmare of 2020 would end and we all would wake up and the COVID-19 nightmare would end in a few seconds…. Boy where we wrong!

Suddenly everything in the world came to a halt. The hectic traffic that frustrated you, were no more. Streets seemed lonely, awaiting the laughing children going to school. The person you sometimes drove next to on your way to work, suddenly vanished…. You, as an essential worker, were left to feel (like) you are driving around a ghost town. You know, those that you see on television with the sand and the tumbleweed blowing across the road. Not even the beggar with her orange-yellow hair was at the traffic light to greet you. It was just…… quiet.

At your workplace you suddenly are greeted with a sanitizing tunnel, and co-workers covered with masks. You barely recognise any of them. Then a general meeting is called on ground floor. All the directors, managers, general-, cleaning- and all other staff eagerly awaits the briefing. Good news is that as far possible we would work according to a schedule, but “lets use this lockdown as an opportunity to rest” the news came. “and at the employer’s cost ALL personnel will be tested for COVID-19 to ensure that our workplace stays safe”. This becomes the new normal for the next two to three months.

Anxiously, we would wait every morning to find out what the new statistics were and then we would ease ourselves by stating that we follow all the rules and regulations and do not go anywhere unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. You would talk to family and close friends and even arrange a SKYPE/ZOOM braai to ease the loneliness. We felt sympathetic to the people who lost loved ones due to COVID-19 complications and we would hope and pray that we or anyone close to us would not succumb to this dreadful disease.

With all these emotional stressors we also had to deal with the financial strain as well.” You are glad to still have a job” you would hear some people say. Eventually “those people” became someone you knew through a friend or a far off relative that you would maybe see at a wedding or funeral.  This quickly changed as the disease gets closer and closer to you. First a colleague from works’ aunt, then another colleague’s father and before you know it one of your close family members or friends that is lost to this disease.

Then…. We had some of the restrictions lifted and everyone breathed a sigh of relieve…. For a few weeks we had a new normal. Kids went to school; you could get a haircut and buy your favorite beverage without having to pay an astronomical amount.

As we got used to the “new normal” we hurried to get all the stationery bought and get back to work, you guessed it…. another lockdown. New plans had to be made as to where our kids would stay and how would we cope with everyone back at the workplace?

With all of this happening, I wondered what happened to our kindness? You would walk into a grocery store and smile to people, but now your smile gets stuck behind a mask. How do we know if the person that sees our eyes, that they are sending the message of a smile? They say “the eyes are the windows to the soul” and I have seen a lot of souls… broken ones, empty ones, discouraged ones and most of all souls full of fear. Fear of the disease, fear of losing loved ones, fear of being left behind…. Alone.

I came across a picture that someone sent me and I realized: We only have to be kind to one another.


The Optima Psychiatric Hospital, a healing centre, situated in the Bloemfontein suburb, Hospitaalpark, accommodating 76 patients and is operated by a company consisting of nine partners, all Psychiatrists.

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