Every death has always been a tragedy. A life ripped from their loved ones. A hole where a living, breathing soul used to be. So how do we cope with 100,000 deaths?
At Swindon's Great Western Hospital there has now been 248 coronavirus deaths. That's 248 people who have lost their lives to this horrid disease, 248 families with a loved one no longer with them. That is devastating. They might have been your friends or work colleagues. They are all people who are no longer with us. Each one is a human story with coronavirus cutting short their lives.
GWH has a large catchment area so those deaths are not all Swindon residents but in the borough itself there has now been 9,164 confirmed cases which shows how huge an impact this virus has had on our town.
But how do we cope with the knowledge that the national death toll has now surpassed 100,000?
That number seems so huge it is just too big for us to compute. It's overwhelming. At times it doesn't seem real. And the country's medical experts have stated that there are still large numbers of deaths to come.
And it is not just the elderly or infirm that make up that toll. The disease has affected both young and old so we all need to take care.
Today is a day for reflection. We need to shed a tear. To think about the millions that are affected by those deaths.
And even for those that haven't died, coronavirus has had a huge impact on their health as they struggle in the wake of this disease that has ravaged their bodies.
We are now right in the thick of our third lockdown, which in itself is devastating for our communities. This enforced house arrest leaves countless people struggling with their mental health and businesses across the town in tatters leaving hundreds with no jobs.
But as a country we have no choice. We have to stop this disease in its tracks and unfortunately that means we have had to sacrifice social contact. We've had to sacrifice hugs. We've had to sacrifice visiting loved ones in hospital.
Children are missing out on a part of their childhood. Grandparents left unable to see their grandchildren. Teenagers unable to spend time with their friends. Parents having to juggle home-schooling as well as working from home.
We are all affected by this.
And still on social media, there are countless voices still denying the disease's existence or angrily railing against having to wear a mask or social distance. Not realising that their undermining dissent, as it spreads like a virus itself, only serves to extend these horrible lockdown measures that we're all having to endure.
The media, including Swindon Link, has had to face accusations of scaremongering just for reporting the Government's numbers and we will continue to face those accusations from those not taking coronavirus seriously and who are actively trying to undermine the measures of controlling the disease.
The UK has the highest death rate in the world and our leaders have definitely made mistakes along the way that in some cases have even exacerbated the spread of the disease. They weren't prepared and acted too late. At times they have put economy ahead of lives with devastating impact.
But today is a day not to blame but to reflect.
There is hope.
And as we reflect that is the fact that we should all embrace. There is hope.
Every kind word and kind act to a neighbour during this time is hope.
Swindon at times during this pandemic has embodied hope as the community acted as one to help the more vulnerable, to speak to the lonely, to occasionally ask the question 'are you alright?' We must all remember it is fine to feel overwhelmed at times but none of us are alone. There are people out there actively helping us all get through this. We need to reach out to them when necessary. There's no shame in not being able to cope with this horrible situation.
We have been there for each other and that is hope.
Vaccinations are being rolled out meaning there is now a light at the end of the tunnel.
This won't last forever. We just need to hold on for a little while longer and then this will be over. Then will come the time to pick up the pieces and act as a community to help each other.
That is the hope.