The post has gone viral after it demonstrated the devastating human cost of coronavirus.
While the world is very much united in a desire to rid ourselves of COVID-19, there has been plenty of division over the vaccines that have been designed to protect us from it. Vaccine misinformation is rife, with everything from supposed microchips, altered DNA states and even links between the coronavirus vaccine and fertility being falsely speculated. Unsurprisingly, as a result, some people have been left scared to have it.
But this week, a letter written by a recently bereaved wife has gone viral after it demonstrated the heartbreaking reality of how lethal coronavirus can be in unvaccinated people who were otherwise healthy. The moving words were written by California-based photographer Ashley Richards, 30, who lost her husband, 46-year-old Rolf Vetter, to coronavirus last month. A friend of the family, Jasper Wong, shared the open letter on Instagram and it’s received more than 135,000 likes, having clearly resonated with people all around the world.
Titled “A Letter to the Unvaccinated,” Ashley’s post detailed the devastating events that led up to Rolf’s death, and the regrets they both shared about not having protected themselves from the virus sooner.
“After 23 days in the hospital and 22 days on a ventilator in a coma, my unvaccinated husband has died of Covid-19.We thought we were invincible. Our thoughts were that we were young and healthy and that if the virus reached us we would be sick for a bit and we’d move on with our lives.We waited and waited. We’d made it through 2020 taking precautions. We weren’t perfect all the time, but we never tested positive. We never even came close to being exposed. We believed in our own immune systems and stubbornly ignored warnings as we refused to be told what to do with our own bodies.‘We’ll get it when we have to,’ we said. ‘If we haven’t gotten the virus yet, we probably never will.’ ‘There were only 11 cases reported in Orange County today.’ ‘Seems like things are getting back to normal.’ ‘Maybe we’ll get it soon, but it looks like we might not have to.’I have been to the hospital everyday since the 4th of July. Before my eyes, my young, healthy, strong, tall, brave, and intelligent husband had been destroyed by Covid-19. It took over his lungs, demolished his kidneys, and caused blood clots resulting in a severe stroke. His heart ultimately gave out.His heart has loved me for over a decade.I watched my Love, a name I’ve called him for ten years, battle as the virus continued to wreak havoc on his body. There was nothing I can do but I stand there watching him as doctors used phrases like, “multiple organ failure”, “potentially poor quality of life”, and “this will take weeks, if not months if he is going to make it”.I was prepared for months of watching my Love as his bed sores grow, as tubes helped him breathe and feed him and medicate him. Months of listening to doctors and nurses state horrible facts about his condition. Months of my heart breaking every second of everyday.‘Will I ever get my Love back? Who is the man that will come back to me?’ I was constantly thinking.I walk around our home as I am abruptly alone in it. Evidence of our travels, our life together, his appreciation for art, adventure, life… its everywhere. It’s unbelievable that we can go from swimming with sharks to him being in critical condition in a hospital bed in what seemingly was an instant.I close my eyes and all I see is him in a hospital bed, comatose, with machines doing for him what he was so strongly doing himself a month ago. The weight of the sorrow of everyday is unbearableThere is no way for you to prepare for this horrendous reality. There is no way for you to actually understand the pain of what was our everyday life and now my loss.But there is a way you can prevent it. And there is a way that you can save others from this pain. Stop being casual about the vaccine and just go do it already. I know your fears, I had them too, but this is the greatest nightmare of my life.And if that doesn’t convince you, just know that one of my husband’s last statements before he was put into a coma was that he regretted that he didn’t get the vaccine.
Save a life. Save a spouse. Save a son. Save a friend.”
Jasper, who shared the heartbreaking letter on social media, described his sadness and shock over the loss of Rolf. “He just towered over everyone and was always so full of life,” the family friend wrote in an Instagram caption. “It was all smiles with him and his wife Ashley. They were absolutely the most like-minded and passionate individuals that I know. They would just glow.
“Anyone that had the pleasure to know the both of them can attest to that. I will miss him so very much. I lost a brother and the world lost a legend.”
Fear of the vaccine is understandable, considering the way the internet facilitates the fast spread of false and scaremongering information. But science has proven that being vaccinated will substantially reduce your chance of catching COVID, and on the off-chance that you do catch it, it significantly minimises severity of illness. This has saved countless lives the world over, and will continue to do so as more and more people get jabbed. For more than 4 million people who have lost their lives to coronavirus, the vaccine came too late. But Ashley’s message is clear: for everyone else, there is still time.