In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of folks were throwing the words patience and grace around. I’ve been thinking a bit lately about grace. While there are several definitions of the word, the one that sticks with me right at the moment is “courteous goodwill.”

Back when the virus first hit, we were all asked to treat our educators, our business owners and each other with grace. No one knew for sure when or how any sort of normalcy might return, but no problem. We would remember grace and all would be right with the world.

Apparently, we forgot a group of people when it comes to dispensing this so-called magic elixer — those who contracted COVID-19. In particular, those who have died from it.

By the time this column makes it to print, over 200,000 people in the United States will have died from COVID-19. But many people don’t believe it.

We’ve all heard the arguments from those doubting the numbers. The people who died were older, they had pre-existing conditions or had some other high-risk health concern.

That describes a lot of people we all know and care about.

I’ve heard some comments from people reacting to the death of someone with COVID-19 that quite frankly, had I not heard them myself, wouldn’t have believed. Among them was a call for an autopsy, because, “you just can’t say it’s COVID without proof.”

There isn’t a lot of courteous goodwill in that remark.

That autopsy request made me think of how people reacted when my parents died.

When Dad died in 2005 of cancer, no one questioned that it was cancer that killed him. And when Mom died following a fall in 2016, no one questioned that the fall, combined with a lifetime of arthritis and lungs worn out from smoking, all played a role in her death. Arthritis and poor lungs were her pre-existing conditions if you will. Again, no one questioned that it was a fall that led to her passing. There was no suggestion of an autopsy for either of my parents by anyone who heard of their passing.

Yet people continue to question CVOVID-19 as a cause of death. As for the argument of pre-existing conditions for COVID-19 victims, it’s important to remember that most of those with pre-existing conditions were living their lives before coming down with the virus.

I heard first hand the reaction from people when I came down with the virus over the summer. “You must have some pre-existing condition if you caught it,” and “See, that mask you wear didn’t work.” To be fair, those remarks were followed by their hope for a speedy recovery for me.

I heard it again when my son contracted the virus in August. This one particularly stood out, “I know you guys have gone through this and I’m sorry, but this is all political.”

And all I can think is I guess my son really is passionate about his politics. So passionate that he contracted pneumonia that often accompanies the virus and lost 25 pounds. With passion like that, perhaps he’s destined for a career in politics someday.

And that’s the thing about COVID-19. It isn’t political. But some people have made it so. Now the deaths of over 200,000 Americans have also been politicized.

We got by the first six months of this pandemic a lot of different ways. Let’s make sure courteous goodwill toward others is part of our roadmap as we move through the rest of 2020.

Be healthy, be safe and be kind.