If COVID-19 had happened in 2016, I would not be here
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May 7, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — If the COVID-19 “crisis” had happened in 2016, then I would not be here today...Of course, I cannot state that definitively. Only God really knows what very well could have happened if many aspects of that year were drastically different.
I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon and liver cancer on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2015.
Raphael Augustine, our ninth live birth (daughter Roma in heaven), was born Nov. 20, just over a month before. Simply put, I knew something was awry when the pain in my shoulder and lower back, as well as other strange symptoms, were not going away.
We had prayer warriors all over the world storming heaven for God to place His healing hand on me, to grant me more years to be momma to all my children. Despite having a love/hate relationship with Facebook, and technology in general, the world wide web helped to connect all our family and friends to keep them updated on my progress, treatments, and allowing me the privilege of having complete strangers pray for God's grace to heal me completely of this cancer.
But being connected over the internet was definitely not the most important part.
I thank God everyday that something like the COVID “crisis” of last year did not happen in 2016. You see, our family relied, just as so many others do, on the love, generosity, and support of others IN PERSON. I cannot tell you how many people were in and out of our home almost on a daily basis, especially during the weeks of chemotherapy and while I was in hospital for surgery and recovery. Meals were brought, my were bathrooms cleaned, my children were taken care of, my husband was given a break – I even had one friend come in and take all our laundry, including our bed linens. I was humbled by the huge heart which was revealed to me through all that help and generosity.
Even when I was not feeling great or completely exhausted, I was boosted emotionally and spiritually by frequent visitors, surprise gifts and flowers, groceries, and reading material shared and attending Divine Liturgy as often as we could at our parish of St. George's Ukrainian Catholic Church. I simply cannot imagine getting through those very crucial first months of 2016 without the fellowship of family and friends, and especially our faith and frequenting the Holy Sacraments. Our parish priest inserted my name into the prayers of the Divine Liturgy for well over a year.
I do not recall ever wearing a mask that entire year. I struck up meaningful conversations with strangers at almost every appointment, chemo session, and at other community events we attended. The cult of the mask has now almost completely destroyed this most basic need in humanity, to connect with others and share life in even the most mundane moments.
If the COVID “crisis” had broken out when I had cancer in 2016, would I have received the treatment I desperately needed as quickly as I did? Or would there have been cancelled appointments, delays in chemotherapy, and the possibility of doctors being unavailable for life-saving surgery? I certainly would not have had the same supportive experience in the hospitals and cancer clinics. In 2016, when I needed care most, I had my mother, my husband, my children, at least two priests, and other friends come to be with me when I was in hospital for almost three weeks. For anyone facing a life-threatening illness, that human connection is not just important, it's crucial for overall mental, spiritual, and physical health. I could not have done it alone.
My heart has broken dozens of times as I have learned of various people, since March 2020, who have had either serious illness or a myriad of other challenges. Unfortunately, we have all heard stories of the sick and the elderly being left alone. It is a total tragedy that, in the midst of this current COVID craziness, many people are not being given the love and support they need in the toughest time of their lives. Respect for human life and human dignity seem to have almost disappeared.
How many people have died for lack of health care? How many have experienced emotional angst, being left alone for weeks and months with no human contact? How many have died alone? How many families are suffering due to a mental health crisis, depression, and suicide? We need to return to being human to each other again. That is what being Christian, being pro-life, is all about: living life together, not apart.
Would I still be here if COVID had happened in 2016? Of course, no one can ever answer that question. God's will is something which we simply cannot fully understand this side of Heaven. But I thank God each day that He healed me through a medical miracle of His, with the perfect timing of events, for me, my family, and my friends.
Post Script: Our ninth boy, Gavin Benedict, was born in April 2020. Another miracle, another story....