An emotional marathon. A new reality. These times. Those are just some of the words used to describe everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even a casual observer is compelled to note that everyone has been impacted by this period in history.
I'm no different. My story is small and insignificant lacking the crisis or challenge faced by true victims or heroes. Yet, I hope my moments echo what's been felt by many of us.
It's been a series of greys with a challenging quest to find slices of positivity.
With iPhone in hand, I embarked on a mission to capture some of these feelings based on the notion that a photo is worth a thousand words. I turned to my family and personal life and took out that phone when things seemed...right. My son is featured prominently in many of these, all with his permission. I chose to leave out the colours - they’re better placed in better times.
So here are some of these moments.
I remember boyhood. Birthdays. Trips. Snow. Now, I wonder how my son will reflect on even the smallest of these events during this time. His future's been shaped by all this. He says little about those feelings but I can see there's depth. It's in his eyes.
Mother's Day 2020. While many of us were still thinking the pandemic could be over by late summer, reality was starting to hit. I got word from my Mom's care home that visits would not be possible and we could only drop off cards or gifts - staff would make sure they were distributed.
This was the start of a cold reality. A detachment of sorts but absolutely necessary. Months later, the same long-term care home would experience over a couple dozen COVID-19 cases and several deaths. This wasn’t even the hardest hit care home in the Lower Mainland. Not by far.
Melancholy. That was only one of the shades I experienced that day as I dropped off a small, simple bag for my Mom. It was left on the driveway at the front door - safely, so it could be sanitized by staff. A new protocol and one of many to come.
To be sure, I was thankful my mother was safe with fantastic, dedicated care providers. These first weeks were an especially difficult time for families of loved-ones living with dementia.
Photos can mean many things to many people and explaining my feelings would be foolish. It started as a strange brew of depression, desperation, compassion and apathetic hope. And at the same time, it was none of these. So, as a journalist, I opted to journal and let the tones of grey tell the rest. The fewer the words, the better.
Our son’s bright, creative and in accelerated programs at school. Like others with his gifts, he’s also sensitive and highly aware of his world. He asks many questions. G had just turned 10 when the pandemic started to take hold.
Maintaining as normal a life as possible would be key as he took on his self appointed role - evangelist of masks, social distancing and rules. We learned that kids can adapt much better than many adults.
Things became different for our family in the weeks leading into summer. Some businesses opened yet there was a growing collective desire to mitigate the danger and ‘bend the curve.’ Honest but perhaps naive.
Barbershops, hair salons, offices and even corner stores were different. We were careful when approaching others on sidewalks. We followed arrows. Even family visits with the in-laws were outdoors.
July and August brought on new adventures closer to home. Small groups. Safe spaces. It was summer with a sincere hope of a pandemic coming to an end.
Then it didn’t work.