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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

When No One Is To Blame

COVID in perspective

Whether you blame the students, administration, social organizations or policies that are too strict or too lenient, take a moment to consider the fact that maybe no one is to blame. We all have family members, friends or people who have lost their lives too early to this virus. 

We have lost incredible experiences that will be replaced by isolation. Comparative grief has robbed us of the ability to properly process the fact that we have all experienced deep and profound loss over this past year. I have lost people in my life. I lost a semester at Oxford and an internship. I am currently in the process of losing half of my collegiate experience to this virus. And that still pales in comparison to the cavernous losses incurred by those all around us in our communities. 

9/11 death tolls are happening daily just in the United States. Massive unemployment is spreading across the country as businesses that will never reopen shut their doors for the last time. Eviction moratoriums are having to be put in place so families do not lose the table they are struggling to put food on. 

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And yet, this does not make your loss any less valid. You have a right to grieve what has been lost even if it might seem trivial compared to the utter devastation that has fallen on others. You are not worthy of blame or derision for how you feel and your response to those feelings. Far too often I have seen the terrible effects of bottling these feelings inside and what it means for someone to feel guilty about their grief. This is terrible because it compounds the effects of grief to not only include the weight of loss but the pressure of how to respond to it and who you can share it with. 

Students, myself included, could have been more careful, could have been more pious in our devotion to public health. We could have always socially distanced and worn masks. We could have eaten alone, and we could have made that coffee date a Zoom call. But we didn’t. We chose to live in opposition to science and what is morally just. 

I was selfish and made exceptions to the very rules I held other people to. I suspect I am not alone. I do not blame myself or others for this virus. Prolonged loss makes grief an incomprehensible emotion as it just becomes another part of your daily life. How we respond to it is anyone’s guess. 

We are all guilty of selfishness, but in the same vein, we can all be guilty of compassion towards those whose experiences are different from our own. And all of this leaves me with one question: what would it look like for me to be guilty of compassion? I am not sure, but I believe it starts with not blaming others whose perspectives and responsibilities I could not possibly understand. 

Written By Bennett Joyce

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