We cannot part

The strongest human need is the need for each other. For some time, my parents, my daughter and I have lived in one house. But now, the infectiousness of the coronavirus means that I must choose between my parents’ safety and my daughter’s healthy social life. If my daughter wants to see her friends and ride on public transportation, she must leave us. “You’re throwing me out?” she cries in disbelief as she drives off to the third social engagement of the day, a day after we’ve gone into isolation. My daughter can’t believe what I am saying. Neither can I.

I explained the virus to her and why we must be cut off from contact with other people, that my parents are elderly and very much at risk. But my daughter can’t believe I would enforce the rule: if she wishes to be with us, she can be with no one but us. And this condition of our lives may last months or more. We do not know how long.

In the days before we began to isolate, we hosted my daughter’s birthday party and a Purim party, went to two Megillah readings, shopped, and wandered the malls. We will not do any of those things again for a long time.

And while we make plans to lock ourselves away, almost no one in Australia, where we live, is sick. Two weeks ago I asked: how can they shut down civilization for the sake of a few sick people? But one person turned into two, and two into four and four into eight, and it only takes twenty-seven days of doubling to go from one to a million. No country has recorded daily doubles yet, but that is the shape of the curve. So we tell our loved ones goodbye; we will see you again in another season, or another year or on the screen.

This article was originally published at Jewish Action