View From the Editor’s Desk: Almost One Million Covid Deaths in U.S.

It was a busy weekend in Richmond as members of our family participated in the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K.  Our son-in-law, who has competed in numerous triathlons and Ironman-Half Ironman events, set a personal best record in RVA. The rest of the crew – there were seven in all – competed well and all returned with one or two medals. The family weekend included celebrating two birthdays, an anniversary, and commemorating the loss of our children’s grandfather to Covid-19 on this day in 2020.

As the U.S. marches toward one million covid deaths – the current number is north of 990,000 – we remembered two years ago. A month after the country had gone on lockdown, my step-dad died of covid after 10 days in a Richmond hospital – one of those in the first wave who lived in assisted living facilities and were infected at a time when we were trying to figure out what was going on, how to handle it, how to protect against it, and most importantly, trying to safeguard our older and very vulnerable population.

Stuck in a locked-down building with no outside visitors including family – we visited through the outside window – it appeared that the only way he could have caught it was from the inside. There had been no outside-the-building doctor visits or visits of any kind. Covid-19 was still so new that doctors were just beginning to realize it affected internal organs, notably the heart and kidneys in those early months.

On the day he died – April 24, 2020 – I wrote about him on Facebook:

If you don’t know of anyone who has died from COVID-19, you do now. We lost my step-dad in the early hours of this morning after spending 10 days in the hospital. He was 93. His assisted living residence was one of those hit by coronavirus — 20 (so far) infected, seven (so far) have died.

Let me tell you a little about this incredible man.

Calvin Tompkins Lucy Jr. was a victim of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. He died alone. In a hospital in RVA. Surrounded by doctors and nurses in Covid-proof attire, like exterminators who spray our homes for bugs, covered head to toe to protect against this highly contagious virus. He is now a statistic, another number on the charts. Years from now our children will say their grandfather died in the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020.

His passing came during spring in Virginia, one of the most beautiful times of the year. He loved to tend his roses and flowers so it somehow seems fitting that he has left us while everything was blooming all around us.

Affectionately known growing up as “Brother,” he was a soda jerk making soda fountain goodies in his teens at the neighborhood northside Richmond pharmacy known as Willey Drug. He was a John Marshall High School Class of 1943 graduate. A Virginia Tech graduate, Class of 1948, engineering. A World War II veteran, U.S. Navy. A lifelong employee of Virginia Power until his retirement. His dad, Calvin T. Lucy Sr., was one of the founders of WRVA 1040 radio, WWBT-TV, and WCVE public TV.

Cal came into our lives after my dad died. Mom was still so young, only in her 40s since Dad was only 51 when we lost him. Cal had Dad’s characteristics. He was quiet, friendly, easy going, and had a gentle humor and quick smile. He was easy to get along with and, though I missed my dad terribly, Cal filled in the empty spaces. Gail, Lori, and I wrapped our arms around him from the very beginning and we became a family. Along with Cal we gained four siblings — Tom, Kathie, Charlotte, and James.

After he retired, Cal remained active in everything. We called him our Energizer Bunny. He was involved in the community, his church, Dominion Power retirees, and his high school alumni. It’s hard to accept that the Energizer Bunny’s battery has finally played out.

If your family has not been touched by this horrid monster of a disease, count yourself fortunate. Because we have. And our hearts are broken at our loss. We miss him already.

Calvin Lucy was among the first 100,000 who died of Covid and his name was included on the list in the New York Times. Little did any of us know that the numbers would continue to grow to a million … but here we are.

Cal’s death early in the pandemic made us very aware of the devastation it could cause on the older and immunocompromised populations and others, and our family became warriors at wearing masks, distancing, and vaccinating-boosting. Hope your loved ones survived this evil virus. Fingers crossed that the next wave will not be as destructive as previous ones. (See ‘In America: Remember’ … Covid Memorial on D.C. National Mall.)

Be well….

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