With the world shut down and most of my favourite activities on pause, it feels like my life is on hold.
A little bit dramatic perhaps, but 2020 will likely be remembered as “the year the world stopped” or something like that.
But it didn’t stop, not really. Life and death goes on.
My grandma, city grandma as we called her growing up to differentiate her from my grandma who was our neighbour on the farm, died on April 29 at the age of 87.
It wasn’t COVID-19 related.
Grandma lived in Edmonton and was in the hospital for two weeks before my mom was allowed to visit her, and only then because the doctors knew grandma was dying.
Death is coming for all of us. According to Statistics Canada 23,547 people died in April 2018.
At 87 years old, grandma’s death isn’t exactly a tragedy, but how sad to sit in the hospital alone for weeks and not see all of your family one last time.
We decided as a family that I shouldn’t go home right now.
There haven’t been any cases of COVID-19 in my small, northern hometown, but there have been in Revelstoke.
Even though I don’t have symptoms, I am not going to be the one to unintentionally bring the disease home to my family.
It’s like mourning has shut down and most of the ways we comfort each other are put on pause, it feels like saying goodbye has been put on hold.
My farm grandma died six years ago around this time. I was in New Zealand and couldn’t go home then, either.
I remember feeling like I had never been more alone in the world. It is a hard thing to be separated by distance during times of need, but now we are separated by a disease.
It is so much more intangible than the Pacific Ocean, an invisible monster that someone else is promising is real, keeping me away from hugging my mom.
And so I hug my dog, and walk on the flats where no one will see me cry and say goodbye to grandma where the only things around to hear me are the water and trees.
Funnily enough, while I am unable to say a proper goodbye, I also find myself unable to say a befitting hello.
My dear friend had her baby on Sunday evening. Something worth celebrating with careful newborn snuggles and congratulatory hugs.
But with the pandemic, the closest I am going to get to that precious little being is the other side of a glass door.
Time continues. People are born and people die. Life as we knew it, that included goodbye kisses, congratulatory hugs and new babies wrapping their hand around your finger, is on hold.
Maybe not as dramatic a notion as I thought.