I’ve known Darla for over 20 years. She struggles to survive. When I first met her and her husband, we bonded because they were from the Boston area and because their son was in the church nursery, where I volunteered on Sundays.
Their son was a laid-back kind of kid. When Nick would join me in the nursery, their son would play with him. Nick would put him in a cardboard box and “fly” him around the room.
The family moved away when the husband was diagnosed with liver disease. As he worsened, he asked me to help his wife and son if I could. When Darla and her son moved back after his death, they had difficulty finding a job.
The son was not used to our Florida heat and humidity but took a job at a car wash. Darla, who is extremely obese, along with other health issues, finally landed a job in a call center. They could not find a place to live (because of three dogs, one of whom was pregnant) and moved into a cheap motel. Then the son’s girlfriend got pregnant. They gave up the child but not the dogs. All 3 smoke like chimneys.
They’ve turned to the church numerous times because they were laid off due to COVID. The church gave her food gift cards and gas gift cards and paid her motel bill.
There is a person who works at the church and supports the work our non-profit does. She also knows my commitment to Darla’s husband, so when Darla asked again, she called me. I paid their motel bill. Then her son applied for aid through the non-profit, so we helped a third time.
Usually, we do not help in back to back months in order to prevent “toxic charity”, when recipients take aid and then spend their money on drugs, booze, and cigarettes. We do not want to create a dependency. We also have a duty to spend donation dollars very carefully. We’ve been able to loosen the rules a bit because COVID has turned the world upside down.
All of them went back to work when the state reopened.
Now Darla is in the hospital, on a ventilator, and in a coma. No one can visit. No one holds her hand. You see, Darla had to continue to go to the call center because she didn’t have a cell phone (we found this out when her son called to tell us she’d been hospitalized … if she had only told me, I would have bought the phone). She was one of several who could not work from home.
I know it’s partly her fault. She should not have moved with three dogs. She should have spayed her dogs to prevent pregnancy. All three smell like ashtrays. I don’t know what brand they smoke and I’m pretty tolerant of smokers, but they reek. Other people have commented on it as well.
But it’s partly not her fault. She’s disabled. Her husband died. They were never financially stable. They can’t afford healthcare and if they enroll through Obama care, they must pay taxes on those payments and families like Darla don’t have that “luxury” because they have low paying jobs. Darla had no choice but to go to the only work she could get.
Whenever I see someone questioning, or even worse, using bogus data to support their resistance to wearing a mask, I think of Darla. In a coma. On a ventilator. And I can’t even hold her hand.
So, yeah, any reference of not wearing a mask is going to get a BIG reaction from me. Count on it.