Life Advice



Ask Amy: Retired first responder needs comfort, now

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Catching that illness at school created deadly havoc in our home and has haunted me my whole life.

I’m 69 years old now, and the loss of my mother certainly changed the lives of my sister and our father.

This COVID-19 pandemic has brought back many memories, and I am a strong advocate of masks and vaccines.

Please continue to emphasize masks and vaccines in your column.

– Reverend Dr. Kay Palmer Marsh

Dear Reverend Marsh: I’m so sorry you carry this loss.

Quoting from a fascinating article about the 1957 pandemic, published in Smithsonian Magazine (in 2020):

“The pandemic of 1957-58 ultimately caused 1.1 million deaths worldwide, and it follows the 1918 crisis as the second-most severe influenza outbreak in U.S. history. Some 20 million Americans were infected, and 116,000 died. Yet researchers estimate that a million more Americans would have died if not for the pharmaceutical companies that distributed 40 million doses of [Maurice] Hilleman’s vaccine that fall, inoculating about 30 million people.”


Maurice Hilleman was a researcher with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. He identified the H2N2 flu strain, raised the alarm about the approaching pandemic, developed the vaccine, and pushed companies to rush vaccines into production.

As of this writing, so far almost 4.9 million people have died of COVID-19 — 716,000 in the United States.

According to a global study published by the CDC (“Children: The Hidden Pandemic”), an estimated 2 million children worldwide have lost a parent or caregiver to COVID.

So far, 140,000 children in the U.S. have lost a parent/caregiver to the disease.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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