We’re tired, tired of the isolation, the precautions, the fear. We see the news every day showing parts of Canada faring poorly against this virus. The news makes us sad. That’s how my husband and I feel here in Prince Edward Island and we live in a place without Covid hospitalizations and deaths.
Following a shortened lockdown, we had Christmas in our little bubble with our daughter and the grandchildren. Some members of our family, living elsewhere in the country, though closely supported by family, haven’t been in their company since March. We are fortunate to live on Prince Edward Island and we know it.
What is it like for people living alone? Many are on their own and have been for a long time now. Normal channels of social interaction are gone. Reading some of the blogs I enjoy gives me a glimpse of how people on their own are managing. It’s not easy.
While there aren’t any stories of the previous pandemic circulating in our families, we have glimpses of some health issues affecting society and our families before us though. When I started school in 1959, school started later in the autumn because of the polio virus. At the time, I knew the name but little of what it was about except for images of people in iron lungs on tv and in newspapers. I know someone who acquired polio from a package sent into her northern community for Christmas. She was away from her family for years, receiving treatment as a young child into adolescence. Vaccine saved lives and people from disabilities.
Going back further in time, people with tuberculosis went into sanitariums. Many died. My grandfather lost both parents and five siblings to TB when he was a young child. What was it like for families to wonder who would come down with that disease, or parents dying of the disease and leaving young families? Such tragedies were common.
My husband’s grandfather was a welfare officer on the west coast of Newfoundland in the 1930s. If someone in a family had diphtheria, the family went into quarantine for a period of time. Grandfather Smith put the quarantine notice on the door of the home and provided the family’s needs, such as groceries. My father lost his younger brother to diphtheria. Sometimes several children in a family died.
Today, it is easy to complain about whatever our experience is because it is what’s real to us. However, we only have to look around us today and back in our own lifetimes and those of our parents and grandparents to see how fortunate we are. We have the knowledge of science to help us deal with the reality of this virus, a way to keep ourselves safe and now, a vaccine which was developed quickly. We need people to take the vaccine so we can live Covid free.
This current pandemic experience has highlighted how much we have to rely on one another for survival. My survival depends on my own actions, those of others around me, the community at large and vice versa. We need everyone to take the situation seriously and do their part in keeping themselves and consequently others, safe. That’s life in general though, isn’t it? Now our interdependence is magnified.
Of course we are tired but also determined to live through this, healthy fear in tact and protocols in place. It looks like it will be summer before our age group will be vaccinated on PEI. However, when the day arrives and we can all leave our bubbles safely again without Covid precautions, I hope we have heightened awareness of our interdependence as a people and are better for it.