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The Devastation that COVID-19 Left

10 months ago

My best friend has left this planet in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. I cannot begin to describe the gaping hole in my heart that has manifested since his untimely demise.

AJ and I have been friends since we were 4 years old. We met at the Montessori. We quickly became inseparable, and our parents also became best friends after only a couple of playdates. Even though we lived in separate parts of town and went to different schools, we spent most of our time together throughout our childhood and long into our adolescence.

AJ was the best friend I could have ever asked for and just before the pandemic hit, I was at his house telling him about my plans to ask out a girl I really liked in my class. When I was about to get in my car to go home, AJ pulled me in for a hug and for some reason, this hug was longer than usual. Little did I know, it would be the last hug I would ever get from AJ.

Once the lockdown began, I could not meet AJ for quite some time. We decided not to meet until the lockdown is lifted, but we spoke on the phone every day. Sometimes, we even Facetimed. Social distancing was hard, especially when I was used to going to his house at least 3 times a week.

At the end of April, AJ went out to get groceries from a deliveryman. His parents had started ordering their groceries online to avoid having to go out as much as possible. AJ took the necessary precautions with the groceries, and his mother sanitized everything. But, that night, AJ breathed his last.

The worst part about the COVID-19 pandemic was that the hospital did not allow the body to be buried with a proper funeral service. His family was only present at the funeral, and they could only manage to see AJ from afar. I never even got the chance to say goodbye to one of the most important people in my life. I was so angry, confused, and I felt like I was all alone.

He left so soon, and at first, I was in denial. I spent days in my bed looking at the last conversation we had over text. I even called him until his phone’s battery died. I couldn’t believe that my best friend had left this planet forever. I found myself stuck in the void of depression. I couldn’t eat, and I couldn’t sleep. I spent my time lying in bed, waiting for AJ’s name to pop up on my phone’s screen.

My parents also left me to grieve because they were grieving as well – AJ was like a second son to them. However, the night before AJ’s one-month death anniversary, they came into my room and asked me if I wanted to have a candlelight vigil for AJ at our house. I agreed. The next day, my family and I prayed our Friday prayers together, and after praying, we lit the longest candles we had at home. Then, my parents, sister and I all took turns to tell a story about AJ. I told them about the time AJ, and I played a prank on his elder brother. This was exactly what I needed.

AJ’s death had shaken my family so profoundly that we took the lockdown much more seriously than most of the population of Pakistan. We made sure to sanitize everything and wear masks and gloves if we had to leave the house. We watched as the COVID case numbers dwindled once Pakistan started using recovered patients’ plasma to treat COVID patients. We watched as more people started taking the lockdown seriously, and we prayed for God to help the world survive this horrible time.

Since then, Pakistan has managed to significantly recover from the first wave of the pandemic and with the second wave’s hit; the country is managing itself better than most. My family has faith that things will get back to normal soon and soon, we will be reunited with our loved ones. For the time being, remembering them in our prayers will be enough.


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The author requested to remain anonymous, but you’re welcome to leave them encouraging words and comments below.

We thank all of you for sharing how the pandemic affected lives around the world. If you have a COVID #personalstory you’d like to share, please email us at

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