Death on FaceTime

What have we come to?

As I was taking in the latest onslaught of grim news on CNN this morning, I was struck by one story in particular.

We have already been told that countless numbers of people have been dying in hospitals all over the world, alone, devoid of human contact…of even the grip of a loved one’s hand to usher them from this world.

What an evil virus this is. Evil and wasting and unrelenting. And strong. Damn, so strong.

In the story, I’m referencing a man died. A husband and a father and of course, his family could not be there with him. They said their goodbyes via FaceTime. They watched as, via FaceTime, he received last rites. His family witnessed his death…virtually. I cannot imagine the heartbreak that will haunt them forever knowing that he died, alone. FaceTime be damned. He was alone.

Does “gratitude” come into play here? A word that is so overused I can barely bring myself to write it, much less speak it?

Should this man’s family be grateful that they could see him at all? My guess is that they would say, “yes.”

Yesterday, Chicagoland actually reached temperatures in the seventies. I went out for a walk in the sunshine. Few people were out and even fewer cars. That was fine with me. I had my headphones on and was immersed in my music.

When I got back to the house, I didn’t want to go inside.

How are you handling this? Do you, like me, feel increasing anger and frustration? What about those of you with kids who are home 24/7? Are you wiped out from trying to keep them engaged and out of your hair?

When I shop for groceries—infrequently now—I feel anger at the people who still don’t seem to get it. They mill around and crowd the aisles devoid of face shields or gloves or anything that might keep them, and the rest of us, from being infected with COVID-19.

Side note: Friends, please wear something on your face if you go out in public. It doesn’t have to be a mask, per se. Wash your winter scarves and use those, or cut up a flannel throw in strips. Do whatever is necessary to keep from getting sick. No one cares how you look.

Let me repeat: Wear something over your face. No one will give a damn how you look as the sane among us will be following suit. The first time I wore one I felt like a strange ranger but that quickly wore off. If shielding your face allows you to venture out to the store to get the things you need, it’s worth it, no?

Back to anger: I am angry at this administration, which I detest. I believe the task force is largely a joke and moreover, I believe Trump has blood on his hands. Please don’t jump on me for this as it is my opinion and nothing will change it.

I am angry at the press, the White House Press Corps in particular. Day after smothering day, they sit in the task force “briefings” and allow trump to berate them and their profession on national TV. Just once, I’d like to see them get up, as one, and leave the room. Instead, they suck it up as Trump craps all over them. Some of the attacks, in particular, are overtly personal.

Even Jim Acosta, who normally has a fair amount of fire running through his veins, has been more sedate than usual.

What the hell is going on here?

I am angry at my husband for not taking this time to embark on a weight loss and exercise program and am so tired of this constant struggle that soon, I will no longer give a damn.

No. That’s not true. I’ll always give a damn.

I am angry that I can’t find a gig as a content writer. Nearly two thousand followers on Medium, a rapidly growing “social presence” and…nada. Why? I was born in the wrong decade.

When I read your stories, I am in awe of your upbeat attitudes and inspiring words. And the last thing I want to do is bring you down. You deserve better than that. But that said, this community is so supportive that I feel I can be genuine. And right now, I’m genuinely ticked-off. This will pass, though, and I’ll go through an “up” period. I’ll jump rope, run on the treadmill, bust out a few squats and I’ll be right as rain.

I’ve learned to live with my emotional ups and downs because the “ups” can be so thrilling, like the love/hate feeling of riding a roller coaster. (Not a fan, by the way, so that’s not the greatest analogy for me.)

Too, summer is coming and that means deck time! I’ll sweep away the dead leave, schlep out the furniture, rehang our many windchimes and make sure the bird feeders are filled, something I do all year, anyway.

Then, my husband and I will be able to go out and read or write or just sip wine and listen to the birds. What bliss that will be. Are you looking forward to that, too? To basking in the sun in your yards, on your patios, decks or balconies, or whatever patch of green you have access to? I hope so.

If I was to become infected and die…in three days or five…would I want my husband to watch me go on FaceTime? Murmur comforting words through Cyberspace? Keep our cats close by as I breathe my last? Honestly, I don’t know. Would he feel comforted? Or just bereft, and cheated? And angry, like me. Or would he feel gratitude that he was afforded even that?

I don’t know and I’m going to do my best to not find out. Please, everyone. Do the same.

All the best to by BIZCATALYST 360° family.


Sherry McGuinn
Sherry McGuinn
Sherry McGuinn is a long-time, Chicago area, advertising/marketing writer, blogger and, for the last fifteen years, screenwriter. A big-time dreamer and proud of it, Sherry has had two short films produced, one in L.A., the other in New York. Both won several awards and screened at festivals but she is still "fighting the good fight," in order to become a full-time, working screenwriter. A passionate straight-shooter who never rests on her laurels, Sherry writes about damn near everything because how do you encapsulate…life? Unflinching in her determination to “just tell the truth,” Sherry strives to educate, engage and inspire others to follow their dreams. A lifelong animal lover and advocate, Sherry resides in a Chicago suburb with her husband and their three fabulous felines.

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  1. Thank you for lifting us up in the midst of all the chaos, Sherry. On behalf of our entire team, please know that your kind words matter. While we were urged by many to stop the presses, we were compelled by the support of so many more (like you) to simply pivot towards using our time and global reach towards sharing messages of hope, inspiration and a brighter world. It’s amazing just how much weight can be moved with all of us pulling together, my friend.

  2. I want to publicly thank Dennis J. Pitocco and team for their unfailingly support, expediency in publishing our stories and all-around “menschedness.” Yes. I just made that up! There has to be a ton of work that goes into creating a community like this, and these people never waver. For that, I am very grateful.

  3. Wow… this resonates so much, Sherry! I’ve felt the same anger, disbelief, and frustration at people around me who refuse to take small steps to prevent the spread of this thing. When I saw the news footage of people FaceTiming their last words, it broke my heart. I read another article about a fundraiser in NYC designed to purchase tablets so that those who are dying could leave a final message to their loved ones. So sad, and yet, so many can’t be bothered to cover their faces for a few minutes at the grocery.

    I live in SWFL and that attitude is pretty prevalent down here. There is one particular grocery owner (Alfie Oakes of Seed to Table Markets) who has been very outspoken about this being a hoax, and how we must “revolt against the draconian measures before we lose our rights.” Check his Facebook page to read the ignorant, arrogant, and dangerous rhetoric he’s spewing – as well as the comments of support from his followers (my neighbors in Collier County).

    I think I will share this piece with him and then. If one or two people can see the view you’ve shared her, then it’s worth it.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Oh, Melissa! How horrible! What a sick twist this person must be. I will check out his page but I am concerned for you as you must be even more careful because of your ignorant “neighbors.” Thanks so much and yes, please feel free to share. Take care of yourself.

    • Sherry — Thank you for letting your anger out. I was shaking my head in agreement re the press’s behavior – why cover what amount to rallies for his faithful? – and the behaviors of some of our clueless uncaring neighbors. I live in NYC near the epicenter of the epicenter. We hear ambulances all day long. And still some people walk around like they are impervious to this plague.

      The numbers afflicted and dying here are staggering. More than 800 people died yesterday in NY. I pass along the following two stories because they convey details from which we are normally spared.

      This first story is about the now mass burials taking place.

      May your days on the deck come sooner rather than later. And keep writing, venting or whatever.

    • Thank you, Jeff. I will read the attached. It’s staggering how little some of us care for our fellow man. This must change or we are indeed doomed. Here’s hoping people wake-up. I appreciate your comment and hope that you and yours are safe.

  4. Sherry as always you’ve hit a homerun in my book. I’m ashamed to say, I hadn’t thought about it really, dying without anyone to hold my hand, or look in my eyes, or promise me they will take care of each other….
    We all deserve better; more dignity, more love. thank you Sherry, this is absolutely perfect.

    • Thank you, dear Laurie. Yes, it’s like tragedy upon tragedy. I can’t imagine the pain of not being able to comfort a loved one in their last moments. Take good care of yourself, ok?