The Story of One Life

Since almost from the beginning of the pandemic, The New York Times has written a special section–Those We Lost-commemorating the people who have died from the coronavirus. They’re not famous. Not a few are of people we probably overlook in our daily lives. Yet these small stories encapsulate so much of our country’s current struggles and what we stand to lose every single day.

Katharine Q. Seelye wrote about Samantha Diaz. A medical assistant in Florida, she tested positive for the virus late last month. She was young–29–and healthy and the results didn’t seem concerning even when she was hospitalized. She died on July 10. Two of her toddlers, one autistic, fell sick, as well. Her husband, a delivery driver, is their sole provider, her mother now her grandchildren’s caretaker.

Knowing just that is enough to squeeze the breath from most people. But there is another layer to Ms. Diaz’s story. Her grandparents immigrated from Mexico and, like many others, supported their family as field workers helping to bring to the American table food we take for granted. Their hard labor secured a future for Ms. Diaz that allowed her the opportunity to work in a doctor’s office instead of on a farm.

Two of our country’s most devastating stories enfold in this one life: The denigration of the strength immigrants have historically contributed to America’s success; the unconscionable failure of some of our political leaders to do the right thing to protect our citizens in combating a deadly disease.

I reached out to Ms. Seelye to find a way to honor and support Samantha Diaz and her family. She just wrote back to say that Ms. Diaz’s friends have set up a gofundme campaign to help provide for her children.

They have set such a modest amount of $15,000, barely enough to cover even the family’s current needs. If only because Ms. Diaz’s story bares witness to these times, please consider donating whatever you can.

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