Like many others I’ve been reflecting so much on this past year, the year of the pandemic. Yesterday was the anniversary of our province stating that we were in the throes of a pandemic. At the time, I don’t think I was even aware of that–we live in the northern half of B.C. and we had no cases of Covid 19 anywhere close to us. On March 13, 2020, my good friend and I flew to Vancouver to attend some very special Mozart concerts. When we left, we were aware that the concerts just might be cancelled but decided to chance it. Besides, March 13 is my youngest son’s birthday and I really wanted to be with him for that.
There were no indications of special procedures at either airport, Prince George or Vancouver. When we got to our hotel we found out that our concerts were cancelled which was disappointing but a bit of a relief because, by then, I was concerned about this new disease that we were just beginning to hear much more about. We still weren’t that worried, though, but were watching the news broadcasts avidly in our room. When we did go out for supper we noticed a couple of things–the restaurant we went to was very sparsely occupied and, on the streets, most of the people out and about were wearing masks. We both thought that was ridiculous–how on earth could masks be effective in preventing the virus? How times have changed! What really brought the potential seriousness of the situation home to me were the reactions of our son and his husband. My friend is a big hugger and both David and Jay were appalled that she insisted on giving each of them hugs. They both tried really hard to convince us that Covid 19 was a real and very serious issue.
When we arrived home, I found out that David had informed his three siblings (I like to say he tattled on us) that Walter and I were not being careful enough and they all came down on us which made us decide that we had to take this seriously. From that point on we did smarten up and followed all of Dr. Bonnie Henry’s protocols and I listened to her afternoon updates avidly. I started to make fabric masks and wear them! I have lost count of the number of masks I’ve made for family and friends And here we are a year later.
Our family has been so incredibly lucky, knock on wood, and for that I can’t be grateful enough. All four of our kids continued to work, albeit from home for most of the year, and all have been healthy. Walter and I have continued to be healthy and are eagerly awaiting our vaccinations. My thoughts and sympathy are with those who haven’t been so blessed, to those who have been sick with Covid 19, to those who have lost loved ones to the disease and to those who have been alone for a year. I can’t imagine how awful it must be to not be able to be with loved ones who are suffering and how terribly difficult to not be able to celebrate a loved one’s life together with friends and family. To have to postpone joyous ceremonies such as weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. I also feel sad for the teenagers who have not been able to hang out with their friends, to continue with their sporting activities, to go movies or concerts or have birthday parties or sleepovers or graduation ceremonies. For the first part of the pandemic schools were closed and for almost the entire year university classes were virtual, not the most ideal way to learn or to have classes. I can’t imagine college or university courses without the stimulation of face-t0-face discussions, debates and encounters.
Our pandemic life has not been very difficult at all. I miss the ability to travel most of all, I think. We had planned and booked a trip to Eastern Europe for this past fall which we had to cancel, but we did book it through a travel agent and purchased travel insurance so we were able to recoup most of the money we spent. Of course, the biggest difficulty we experienced, and continue to experience, is not being able to see or spend time with our close family and relatives. We are lucky that one of our daughters and her family live in Vanderhoof so we have been able to have outside visits with them, and our other daughter and her family live in Prince George so we have been able to see them occasionally, always being careful to follow our Dr. Bonnie’s protocol. Our oldest son and his family live in Whitehorse and in July the border between B.C. and the Yukon was opened so we were able to drive up there with our travel trailer and have socially distanced outside visits with them. We also were able to drive to Dawson City to see our granddaughter who was going to the Yukon School of Visual Arts. As well, before our province shut down this past fall, we were able to visit friends and my cousins who live on Vancouver Island and we were able to have lunch in Vancouver on our way home with our son and son-in-law. I do know and appriciate how very lucky we have been.
I have managed to keep myself fairly busy and positively occupied during this time of lockdown but I have to admit I was way better at using my time productively at the beginning than I am now. Like everyone else, I’m tired of this. But, at the same time, I cannot let myself wallow in negativity. I’m not a frontline worker, I’m not isolated in a small apartment not able to get out, I can drive to town to get groceries and all the necessities of my life, I can go on walks with a friend or my husband. The fact that our local swimming pool has been open for several months has been so important to Walter and me and we are so grateful for that.
I cannot imagine the effect this past year will have on frontline workers, the doctors, nurses, health care providers, those who work with and take care of the elderly and vulnerable. I am in total awe of them.
One thing I have learned about myself this past year is that I’m much more of an introvert than I ever thought I was. I considered myself an extrovert through and through, but strangely enough the lack of socialization for the past year has not been all that onorous. There have even been positives: we can enjoy the hot tub without bathings suits in the middle of the afternoon; having a spotless house (not that that often happened) was not a priority because nobody came to visit; I could wear the same clothes three days in a row; and I could binge-watch and read as often and for as long as I wanted.
Before I end, though, I have to state how disgusted I am with those who have disregarded all Covid protocol, from the politicians who travelled internationally to people who continued to hold parties and get togethers to those who refused to not attend or to hold church services. Their selfishness, utter disregard for the health and safety of others, and their feelings of entitlement are despicable. But I’m done with this. Bring on the vaccinations. Bring on the resumption of travel.
I close with heartfelt gratitude to and admiration of all healthcare and frontline workers.