Letters to the Editor

Letter: Pandemic affects us all

I am sorry for commentary writer Heidi Young’s pain and loss of her beloved mother, Barbara Huber Earley, as she died alone in Montana in November 2020 from COVID-19. I read her obituary, scrolled through online pictures, and thought about her life and the loss to her family.

Though we’ve never met, I have empathy and compassion for Heidi and the millions of people around the world who have experienced loss during the pandemic. Her story could have been mine, except insert a loved one dying of cancer in Washington earlier this year; we made the choice to stay in Alaska and not travel outside to say our goodbyes as to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and chance new variants. We thought of others, not only ourselves, in this decision and the choices we continue to make — work remotely when we can, use curbside pickup, socialize outdoors with friends, etc.

Two weeks ago, I received my own cancer diagnosis, which will require surgery. For the first time since 2019, my husband and I will get on a plane this week to seek treatment Outside. This is a decision we did not make lightly. However, with the virus rampant in our state, and maskless people choosing their “freedom” to do what they want regardless of what is best — in my opinion — for the common good, I do not feel safe having surgery in Alaska, even though I am vaccinated and wear a mask. My reasons? A weary, overworked hospital staff, unfamiliar hospital workers being shipped to our state, rationing care, breakthrough COVID infections due to high community spread, a community in turmoil regarding masks, and my own anger and stress — during one of my scans, five clients in an Anchorage waiting room wore the masks provided by the front desk under their chins, noses, and one, a new mother with infant on her hip, never put it on.

Thanks to Heidi for her commentary and inspiring me to publicly share how the actions of others during this pandemic affects many of us on a very personal level.

— Sue Goodglick


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