Half Mast

Dearest Rachel –

Well, I finally did it. I finally got the rabies certification from the veterinarian’s – along with a couple more medications for Chompers’ urinary tract infection. Yeah, it’s happened again. I still don’t know how you juggled all this – or are his health issues actually accelerating, like it sometimes seems?

Anyway, with the certification of vaccination, I could finally get out to the village hall, and get his license for 2021 – along with the village stickers for our cars.

Although I don’t know what to do with your purple PT Cruiser, honey. I guess it’s a bit of a moot point for now, since it’s a bit stuck in the snow (and Daniel rarely bothers to leave the house without me, in any event). But that thing is well and truly yours – and I suppose I’ll tell its story some time in the future.

So, before meeting Larry (from Camp Awana) for lunch, I brought the paperwork, along with the required check, to the village hall to obtain the necessary registrations.

You might recall driving by Gateway Park some time ago, about a month after Justice Ginsberg’s passing, and either you or Daniel wondered why the flags were still flying at half-mast. Sure, Ginsberg was an important figure in Washington, but to fly flags at half-mast for a month thereafter? That seemed like more of a tribute than anyone in public service had ever received, or, frankly, deserved.

Well, upon arriving at the village hall, I noticed that the flags outside were also flying at half-mast. I figured I might as well ask at the desk, and get what – from a local governmental perspective, at least – could be considered an ‘official’ answer.

As the clerk passed me Chompers’ tag and the two auto stickers, I asked about the flags outside.

“I’m told,” said the clerk, “that they’re for those who lost their lives of Covid.”


Look, I’m not going to get political in these letters, sweetheart. You and I were on the same page, politically, throughout our lives. And now, what we had together – and what I’ve lost with your departure – is so much more important than politics, no matter how roiling things were during the terrible year of 2020. And I’m not about to downplay the severity of last year’s epidemic. It was – and remains – a fearful thing, and many people died from it. Indeed, if the flags remain at half-mast for a day for each life lost to date, they would remain that way:

  • for America at large: approximately 1,275 years.
  • for Illinois: nearly 60 years.
  • for Cook County: over 26 years.

I can’t seem to find specifics on our village, to be sure, but at this level, at least, it looks like the flag will never rise past half-mast again in my lifetime.

Meanwhile, people continue to die every day from all sorts of other causes. Old age, cancer, heart disease, homicide…

…and sledding accidents.

That flag may be down to honor those stricken by Covid (and, I would imagine, to curse those responsible), but I’m going to at least imagine it’s for you, too.

I miss you honey. We’ll talk again soon.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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