It was Monday, 26th April 2021, at about 8:30 AM when my phone rang. “Ashher is no more”, said the voice on the other side. Ashher Aamir, a friend of mine for 11 years, one of my closest buddies, was no more. I informed my wife about his demise and with tears in her eyes she immediately pointed at my daughter and said, “That dress she’s wearing was gifted by Ashher”! We have since then revisited every conversation we had with him, emphasizing on the last ones, lamenting about how we should have found more time for loved ones. We worry about our kids, if God forbid, they have to face this very possible scenario of losing a parent.

While chatting with business owners or even with salaried professionals, people are often talking about how badly business has been impacted due to the pandemic or how they have lost their jobs or an appraisal. But what about the void that has been left due to the loss of a loved one?

As the second wave of coronavirus devastates India, with over 350,000 cases reported every day, families are looking for assistance on social media. Fund-me pages are more real than they have ever been. It is chaotic and overwhelming.

They trawl Instagram pages, send messages to WhatsApp groups. They require hospital beds, oxygen, the COVID drug Remdesivir, and plasma. However, demand is outstripping supply, and the sick do not have the benefit of time. Let’s turn a blind eye, for now, about the problem of the fakes in the medicine market and the losses they are causing to people’s lives.

Many of those who have lost loved ones have had their life turned upside down. Many families lost their only breadwinner, leaving behind children and elderly parents. Families do not have time to grieve over the death of a loved one when they are dealing with various other difficult circumstances.

How can you wake up and pretend that after experiencing or witnessing something like that, you should come to work or run your business as best as possible? We shouldn’t. Nonetheless, here we are, doing so even if it under a crushing weight of grief.

We are grieving for all those who died as a result of Covid-19, as well as the deathbeds and funerals that we were unable to attend due to quarantine. We are grieving the loss of tens of millions of jobs and the financial strains caused by the pandemic, as well as the impossible decision for many essential workers about whether maintaining their job is worth risking their lives or the lives of their loved ones. And we are doing it all at work, whether it’s by Zoom calls and Slack chats from the kitchen tables and bedroom desks of those who can work from home or in grocery shops, clinics, and classrooms where essential workers are supposed to be physically present every day.

The aftereffects of this year’s sorrow and mourning will be felt for a long time. But we do not need to go through this alone, you do not have to go through this all alone. We are all in this together and we all must be a pillar of support for one another and overcome this together.

For Ashher.