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Health and death


Yes & Know By Aline Yamshita

With life, comes death. While some disagree about life after death, everyone knows there’s definitely death.


Many acknowledge death by drawing up a will or buying a burial plot. Eric and I have reservations at Pigo cemetery. We’ll be buried together. That just makes sense to me.


Memories of death don’t fade. Cries reverberate, painful sights re-appear, fading heartbeats boom loudly.


As odd as it may sound, at least we were able to be with people during their last days. We have those memories. We processed death together.


Today, that isn’t so. Covid-19 and his sister delta rob us of comforting and being comforted. Vaccinated or not, you are not allowed to be with your sick family members.


The toolbox that will prevent death scenarios is repeated repeatedly. Vaccination, face covering, hand washing, social distancing — we all know the drill.


And yes, or course, if your health prevents you from being vaccinated, then you can’t be vaccinated. But if your health allows you to get vaccinated, then get vaccinated.


We’ve all had vaccinations – measles, rubella, mumps, polio, hepatitis – to name a few – public health has evolved. Yes, there are debates. I’ve been told more than once that Eric’s disabilities are because he was vaccinated.


Not true.


Today’s pandemic requires us to inject another vaccine. We’ve been to enough Zoom rosaries and Zoom memorial services to know that Zoom anything just doesn’t cut it. That void has reminded us why our mourning processes help us get through the pain of death.


Particularly on our island, we know each other and we know of each other. We care about the families, we remember the laughter, we remember the songs, we remember the food, we remember the hugs. And we miss all of it. We miss all of it in life and we miss all of it in death.


Get the shot so that we can do death as a part of life.

The last two years have been a rollercoaster ride. We have become even more grateful for those who continue to help – even as they place themselves in jeopardy.


Thankfully, Dr. Lizama helped me. When he referred me to Dr. Alexandria Leon Guerrero, she helped me. When she tagged Dr. Nathaniel Berg, he helped me. Dr. Berg tagged a few more doctors to figure out my situation. Nobody closed their doors. Our medical world is dedication personified.


A huge asset to our community is Roy Adonay, chief operating officer and clinical administrator of Guam Radiology Consultants. Fully accredited and extremely busy, Roy’s vision of a top-notch radiology center has renovations in place. At one point, I could have facilitated tours of the place. I spent so much time there. When I got scared, Roy would reassure me. Roy connects, collaborates, communicates and cares. He’s a really good, smart person. We’re blessed.


Having Dr. Berg lead the Physician’s Advisory Group is excellent. He is smart, experienced, focused, realistic, optimistic and even-tempered. He cares about us and he believes in us. Thank you, Dr. Berg.


The frontliners are a good reason to get the shot. We can help them help us. Getting vaccinated will lessen the severity of the symptoms of the delta variant, which means a greater chance of recovery and healing. It helps them make fewer death announcements.


My dad would have been 91 today. He died at the age of 62. I always thought I would die at that age. But I passed that mark two years ago.

I just don’t want to go through the agony he went through. Nor do I want to go through the agony that Covid patients are going through. Nor do I want you to die that way. The less pain, the more peaceful. The vaccination is a ticket for a more humane death.


Have you seen the incredible sunsets and sunrises lately? The glory of God speaks to us through the magnificence of it all. The tools to celebrate life are ours to have. Get and give.


Aline Yamashita is a mom, a teacher and former senator. She served in the 31st and 32nd Guam Legislatures. You may write to her at aline4families@gmail.com.


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