Monthly Archives: March 2020

The Virus Pandemic and the Father’s Heartbreak

The day is over, and you are driving home. Your thoughts turn to your wife and two children. You smile as you think about those three people in your life you are totally crazy about. They are truly the joy and delight of your world.

As you tune into your radio, you hear a short announcement about a little village in India where some villagers have died suddenly, strangely, of a flu that has never been seen before. Three or four people are dead, and doctors are being sent in to investigate it.

You don’t think much about it, but on Sunday, coming home from church, you hear another radio spot. This time it’s not just three villagers dead but 30,000 villagers in the back hills of this particular area of India. It’s on TV that night as CNN runs a brief story about it. People are heading there from the disease center in Atlanta because this strain has never been seen before.

By Monday morning when you get up, it’s the lead story. It’s not just India now. It’s spread to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. Before you know it, you’re hearing this story everywhere. They have coined it as “the mystery flu.”

In his address to the nation, the President of the United States comments that he and everyone are praying and hoping that all will go well over there. But everyone, including you, is now wondering, how are we going to contain it? That’s when the President of France makes an announcement that shocks all of Europe. “I am going to have to close the borders of France,” he says. “There will be no flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this disease has been found.”

That night you’re glued to the TV before going to bed. Your jaw hits your chest when a weeping woman is translated from a French news program into English. “There’s a man lying in a hospital in Paris dying of the mystery flu.” It has come to Europe.

Panic strikes!

As best as experts can tell, once you contract this mystery flu, it lies dormant for a week. Then you have four days of unbelievable, horrific symptoms. Then you die.

It’s Tuesday morning when the President makes the following announcement: “Due to a national security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled. If your loved ones are overseas, I’m sorry. They cannot come back until we find a cure for this thing.”

On Wednesday night, you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody runs in from the parking lot and says, “Turn on a radio, turn on a radio!” While the church listens, the announcement everyone feared is made.

“Two women are lying in a Long Island hospital dying from the mystery flu,” says the voice.

Within hours, it seems this thing just sweeps across the country. People are working around the clock trying to find an antidote. Nothing is working! California. Oregon. Arizona. Florida. Massachusetts. The mystery flu has swept the borders.

As daylight falls, you tuck your children into bed. Knowing that something unusual is going on in the world around them, they are unsettled. Cradling them in your arms, you seek to comfort their troubled spirit. With each tender kiss to their brow and every gentle caress of their cheek, you express your abiding love for them.

Later that week, all of a sudden, the news comes out. The code has been broken. A cure can be found for the mystery flu. A vaccine can be made. It’s going to take the blood of somebody who hasn’t been infected. Throughout the midwest and all the channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone is asked to do one simple thing: “Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood type taken. That’s all we ask of you. When you hear the sirens go off in your neighborhood, please make your way quickly, quietly, and safely to the hospital.”

Sure enough, when you and your family get to your local hospital late on Friday night, there is a long line. They’ve got nurses and doctors coming out and pricking fingers and taking blood and putting labels on it. Your wife and your kids are with you, and the doctors come and take your blood. You hear them call out, “Wait here in the parking lot. If we call your name, you can be dismissed and go home.” You stand around with your neighbors, frightened and wondering, what in the world is going on? Is this the end of the world?

Suddenly a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming. He’s yelling a name and waving a clipboard.

You respond, “What?”

He yells it again and your son tugs on your jacket and says, “Daddy, that’s me.”

Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy.

“Wait a minute! Hold on!”

They tell you, “It’s okay. His blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn’t have the disease. We think he has got the right type.”

Five tense minutes later, the doctors and nurses emerge from the building, crying and hugging one another. Some are even laughing. It’s the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week. An old doctor walks up to you and says, “Thank you, Sir. Your son’s blood type is perfect. It’s clean, it is pure, and we can now make the vaccine.”

As the word begins to spread all across the full parking lot, people are screaming and praying and laughing and crying.

But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and your wife aside and says, “May we see you for a moment? We didn’t realize that the donor would be a minor, and we need . . . we need you to sign a consent form.”

You begin to sign, and then you see that the number of pints has been left empty.

You ask, “H-h-h-how many pints?”

And that is when the old doctor’s smile fades and he says, “We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren’t prepared. We need it all!”

The impact of the doctor’s words slowly settles upon you. Your eyes bulge even as they fill with tears. You begin to shake your head in protest against his assertion.

The doctor continues, “But, but, you don’t understand. We are talking about the world here. Please sign. We need it all, we need it all!”

“But can’t you give him a transfusion?”

“If we had clean blood, we would. Can you sign? Would you sign?”

Completely numb and unable to speak, you do. Then they say, “Would you like to have a moment with him before we begin?”

How do you walk back there? How do you walk back to that room where he sits on a table saying, “Daddy? Mommy? What’s going on?” How do you take his hands and say, “Son, your mommy and I love you, and we would never ever let anything happen to you that didn’t just have to be. Do you understand that?”

And then the old doctor comes back in and says, “I’m sorry, we’ve got to get started. People all over the world are dying.”

After a few moments of lonely anguish, you slowly but deliberately hug your beloved son. You let his little hand slip from your own and walk out of the sterile room.

As you reach the front door of the hospital, you notice something about the people who have gathered in the parking lot. They are laughing amongst themselves and having a grand old time. They are oblivious to the price your son has just paid for their very lives and are ungrateful for your sacrifice of your dearly beloved son.

You slowly and quietly walk away, tears streaming from your eyes and a look of sorrow engulfing every crease in your face.


Source: This story was in an email message I received about twenty years ago from an unknown source.