Death to 2020; Happy New Year!
I didn’t know anyone who had died from Covid-19, until during the holidays I spent in Los Angeles. Shortly after arrival to the California town that has been heavily hit by the virus this past month, we got the terrible news that old and dear friends who we were hoping to see had both been taken seriously ill with the virus, both in the hospital. The couple’s son kept us up-to-date with their progress. Sharon went home after a time to recover, alone and in confinement—Marshall did not. He died on December 29th in the ICU.
I can’t stop thinking about him and I can’t stop crying. These are people I have talked about often because of all the joy they have brought into our lives for more than 30 years. Sharon is an interior designer extraordinaire. She loves to take care of people and animals, two sons of her own and two adopted daughters, not to mention a brood of Chihuahuas—as many as 10 at one time—who follow Sharon everywhere and love to be next to her in bed…all of them! Marshall we jokingly called “her big Indian,” because he was a Native American with a big stature, a big presence in the Indian community and an even bigger heart. They were art collectors and philanthropists who never stopped doing good things for whomever they favored. They hosted our going away party in 1994, poolside at their beautiful Los Feliz home, when we were about to move to Paris. They came to Paris to celebrate New Year’s Eve 2000 with me. Their son was born within days of my daughter and they remained close friends. I could tell a million stories to illustrate why they are both so special and how terribly sad this loss is, to me and to all their family and friends.
Their son, Alexander, wrote to us before Marshall died:
“2020 has been quite the year. On too many levels, unfortunately. This is normally the season when we come together with friends and family to celebrate. For many, this is a hard year to celebrate. Even though everything is scaled back, it’s a good time to reflect upon all the blessings that we do have and all the blessings that we have had. If anything positive comes from the Covid crisis, hopefully it’s that we are able to focus on the important things: the people in our lives and the memories that we share.”
The Los Angeles Times ran this obituary in the Entertainment and Arts section on Saturday.
I got on the Air France flight back to Paris on Friday carrying all this sadness—thinking of Marshall’s passing and the hell that Sharon must be going through. I was already missing my daughter after having spent two weeks virtually in solitary confinement with her, traveling through Arizona and then working and eating at home. We spent New Year’s Eve together over a home-cooked dinner, a bottle of wine and dumb stuff on TV. The flight was uneventful and only about one-quarter full—I had four seats in a row all to myself. I didn’t board without proof of the Covid-19 PCR test. Once in Paris, authorities checked it four times before going through passport control.
Some people I know in the U.S. and in Israel have already gotten their Covid-19 vaccinations. France is starting to roll out their nationwide campaign, with Nice having already begun last Wednesday, December 30th. I registered online to take it in Nice and have been informed that I am eligible during Phase II within the first half of this year…although I’m unsure if I will take it.
I’m not the only skeptic. Over 50 percent of the French say “they have no intention of getting the jab.” National news channel France24 reported that “It might seem paradoxical, but France, the home of Louis Pasteur’s pioneering discoveries in immunology, is also one of the most skeptical countries in the world when it comes to vaccines.”
(See their full report here)
My daughter is strongly opposed, yet I am on the fence. She’s half my age and believes in putting only natural substances into her body, so that makes a difference for her. But, I am in that higher risk category and have been used to western medicine and chemical solutions my whole life, so the decision isn’t so easy.
If you do your own research, you’ll find many more reasons why we should be taking the vaccine than not…from the medical professionals, of course. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right decision—we really don’t know what side effects we might face in the future with such a short testing period.
I know one thing for sure: I do not want a repeat of the year 2020 in the year 2021. If that means inoculating as many people as possible, then so be it. Consideration of the risk is most important. Ask yourself if the chances of catching Covid-19 are greater than the side effects of taking the vaccine? Likely yes. And if Marshall McKay had had the vaccine, he might still be alive today.
I’m still on the fence, and we all have to make up our own minds…but while you’re at it, if you want a seriously good laugh at 2020, be sure to watch “Death to 2020” on Netflix. It’s a British “mockumentary” by Black Mirror creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones that received a lot of negative criticism. I found it absolutely hilarious and a “must watch.” If nothing else, it will bring some humor into these otherwise dismal times.
A la prochaine…and Happy New Year 2021!
The Adrian Leeds Group®
Adrian and Erica together