Yesterday I posted photographs I’d taken of a “chipmunk”. Obviously it’s a small gray squirrel and not a chipmunk at all. Also yesterday I was looking at a photo of my brother and his family. It was group photo but his wife was missing, or so I thought. She was right there, why didn’t I see her? Some days it makes me feel like I am totally losing brain cells at an accelerated rate. This whole pandemic is getting the best of me, I think. I cannot seem to get enough rest and every morning I am awake almost as soon as the sun rises. I am irritable too much of the day and feeling off balance. Well, I was. I feel a bit better today (so far, anyway). I am also back to work after being off since mid-March. I am grateful that the library is not yet open to the public. I am not ready to deal with the public just yet and my heart goes out to everyone who has been dealing with this fear and anxiety while I have been safely ensconced at home. I’ve been on the anxiety roller coaster, as we all have been. Numbers are creeping back up again in the city and have revived the fear factor within me. What to do? Walking sure helps relieve stress, but to get outside I have to get on the elevator to go downstairs. That’s also anxiety-producing . I mean how can you safely keep a distance in an elevator? I will deal. What choice do any of us have? We can’t go around it, over it, or under it, we simply have to go through it. Please stay healthy and well and please, stay safe.
Tough times do not last. I know this is true. I have experienced them time and time again. Still this whole corona virus thing seems like it has dug its feet in for the long haul. As businesses and organizations re-open across the country I keep waiting for that other shoe to drop. That second wave that sits like the monster in the closet I was so afraid of as a child. We’ve had a few, well actually three, pieces of news this week that make me wish I was a child again and could look to someone wiser than myself to deal with them.
I wrote about Teather’s journey over the rainbow bridge yesterday. He belonged to my daughter-in-law and my son. He was such a sweet little dog and he will be missed so badly. That was one thing. Thing two: we learned that someone very near to our hearts and much loved may have been exposed to covid-19 just when we thought we were coming out of the woods where that dreaded, horrific disease is concerned. They will be tested on Monday and then we all await the results. I am confident it will come back negative, but still that small slim to none chance hangs over our heads like an axe about to fall.
Thirdly, we learned that my husband’s heart has suffered further deterioration. We are waiting for an appointment with a cardiologist in the big city. Our family doctor’s office said it could be a long wait due to circumstances around covid-19 and the long list of patients waiting to be seen. In the meanwhile, I may be called back to work soon. I work at the local library and have loved my job. Yet, the thought of working with the public in the midst of a pandemic is rather concerning, especially since my husband is at the top of the covid-19 list where vulnerable people are concerned.
I know I will be given the strength, wisdom, and fortitude to deal with it all from a Divinity whom I am so very grateful for. At this moment, as I write, however, I really want to tell the Creator, ‘enough already, enough!’ Yet somehow, some way, these tough times will pass, as others have passed. I just have to hang on and keep faith in the One who is all-wise and all-powerful.
It’s been raining a fair bit this past week, so much so the pond in the green space behind our building has flooded again. Sigh. I just want to get out on the trails for a nice long walk, but I know the trails will be soggy and I do not own any rubber boots. I snapped a photo to show the difference a few days of rain makes.
I know rain is good, but after the long winter and a spring that was slow taking hold, it would be nice to see sunshine for a while. I guess the ducks and geese are happy though. So, that’s something. I keep looking for baby ducks but so far without success. If they had any they are keeping them well hidden in the reeds. Can’t blame them, a lot of people walk their dogs around the pond, many let their animals off the leash despite signage to the opposite. I guess if I were a duck I would not trust my young to be safe with canines on the loose either.
At any rate, this is life here today. How are you doing in your neck of the woods?
Concerning racism and bigotry
I grew up in rural Newfoundland, perhaps I’ve mentioned that before? It was a very tiny community where everyone knew one another. It was settled by mainly the English and the French. There were no women when fisherman first settled into the area so many married Mi’kmaw women, the people who are indigenous to the East coast of Canada. There were prejudices while I was growing up, religious bigotry was common as was prejudice of the English to the French and vice versa, as well as toward our Native peoples. My father worked on the American air force base (built in nearby Stephenville during the Second World War) for most of my childhood years. He was what’s been termed a “cradle Catholic” while my mother had been raised Anglican. From the get go there were issues for my parents as both sets of grandparents were not happy with their union. “Yellow belly Protestant” and “Dirty Mic” were a couple of the derogatory terms slung about. I also remember never having seen a person of color until American airmen of African descent were posted to the base. I remember being fascinated with the color of their skin and asking my mother why their skin was so much darker than ours. I remember her explaining how skin color has a lot to do with hereditary genes and how the sun burned some people but others would tan deeper shades of brown. She was very matter of fact about it and explained in ways I could understand. She made nothing of it; it was no big deal. At the Catholic school I attended we were taught that all people – ALL people, were our sisters and brothers. Those lessons were reaffirmed at home. I am grateful for my parents and for my teachers and for their lessons of acceptance and understanding.
Fast forward to when I had grown up, married and had children of my own. Today is actually my daughter’s birthday. She is the eldest of our three children, and as often happens on birthdays, I find myself wandering back through the years. When my children were born, we lived in Brampton, Ontario. At that point in time it was a small town, predominately white. We seldom met people of other nations or people of color. It was a nice day and we had been out doing a bit of shopping for groceries and sundry items. Afterward we went to McDonald’s, my daughter was two years old at the time and our son was six months old. We got our order and were headed to a table when she spied a black couple sitting with their children. They had a new infant and my daughter ran to see the baby. My daughter was a very friendly child and would talk to anybody and everybody! This was not always welcomed. At any rate, she excitedly called back to me, “Mama, mama! Come see the little brown baby!” I hesitantly approached their table apologizing for her intrusion as I came. I remember the parents just being so kind and delighted with my girl. I remember the pride on their faces as we cooed and ah-ed over their little one. They also had a toddler about the same age as our daughter. In our short exchange it was more about what we had in common – our children. Although it is now so many years later, I remember how proud I was of my daughter and relieved at their acceptance of her.
Acceptance is something children readily display, until they are taught racism, bigotry, and prejudice by misguided adults. Let us look to the children, they can teach us much! And let us not lead them astray!
Complaining seems to be as much a virus as Covid-19 and, although not fatal, can be debilitating. I know I am just as guilty of complaining from time to time as the next one, but experience has taught me that it is not good for my mental health and, since my mental health impacts my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, not good overall. And who likes to sit and listen to somebody who is given to whining and complaining? Not many people. As the saying goes, ‘misery loves company but company does not love misery’. Ain’t that the truth? It is so easy to get trapped into a cycle that can quickly become a downward spiral into depression. At least that’s been my experience.
I have been making a concerted effort to pay close attention to my thoughts and to guard against negative thinking. It’s not easy at times such as these when there are so many unanswered questions concerning the corona virus and its impact on life as we’ve known it. Yet, life itself is so fragile. Not one of us have a guarantee we will be here tomorrow. There is so much we have taken for granted in the western world. ‘First world problems’ is a phrase I often see bandied about. Such things as not being able to visit the hairdresser or go to a concert or out to dinner.
Perhaps this virus will help us learn more about ourselves, about our values, about what is truly important to us. Perhaps it will help us learn that social connection is much more important than we’d previously realized and treasure time with loved ones and friends much more deeply. Perhaps we will learn that care of our health and the health of others is more important than that trip to the hairdresser or to see a movie. Perhaps we will learn that life, all life should be valued, including that of the planet itself. Perhaps it will help us turn over a new leaf, to realize we are not the be all and end all of the universe. Perhaps we will become less self-centered and less selfish. Perhaps it will make us all better people, more caring, giving, and loving. Perhaps this is a golden opportunity for self growth and growth of society at large. Perhaps …..
“There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.” – Ronald Reagan
“A battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it. – Frederick Douglass
I never really knew you well
But I remember the young girl
With the bright, wide smile
Speaking poetry with a put-on accent
That made us grin and giggle
You were a delight and a total ham
Drinking up the accolades with relish
No false humility there!
It has been many years since we met
Yet, that one meeting had an effect
And you are remembered fondly
I know you now through stories told
By those who know you much better than I
Of your struggles and your pain
And of how you’ve soldiered on
Through it all
May you marshal your courage once again
To meet this new and foreign terror
That has swept the lands
And invaded your every cell
I think of you as you were then
And pray that young girl that lives within you
Gives you strength to beat this thing
Be well, young friend, be well
Over the past weekend we learned that a young woman who has struggled with type 1 diabetes, kidney failure, and other health issues has been diagnosed with Covid-19. She has been through a lot in her young life and if you will, I invite you to join me in praying for this courageous young woman for her recovery and for good health. May God bless Brittany.
I haven’t been writing much. This past week or so has been grueling with almost daily trips out of town, or returning home. The drive is very pretty but having to do it so often really is tiring. It takes us approximately three and a half hours each way. But I have good news, that situation has finally been resolved and we will not have to travel for dialysis any more. Our local hospital has been able to truck in clean water (we are still under a boil water order that will last into September).
I’ve been hearing a lot of grousing about the boil water order. Yes, it’s a bit of an annoyance. The water is fine for showering, laundry, washing dishes etc. but brushing your teeth, cleaning fruits and vegetables, cooking, etc. etc. must be done with water that has first been boiled. It’s an inconvenience and I totally understand the complaints, but really, it’s not such a big deal. After all, we have running water. We don’t have to carry water in jugs or pails like many do in developing nations. I guess it’s all in your perspective. And, let’s face it, we are pretty spoiled and have become complacent about these things we take for granted, such as clean water from the tap, electricity, natural gas, and all the like that make our lives so much easier. In the midst of a pandemic I’d say it’s the least of our worries.
Its been a rough few days. It’s only Thursday but it feels like forever since the Athabasca river overflowed and came inland. On Monday the ice jam was 25km long, it is now 13km long. That’s a lot of ice! But it is dissolving slowly and the waters are receding, so that’s good news. The bad news is that many people who had finally moved into newly rebuilt homes that they lost to the fires have lost them again to the flood. It puts things into perspective. Hubby and I have been inconvenienced. We have to make the three hour drive out of town for his dialysis, but we still have a home. Unfortunately this situation may last another week. Yet we are able to rent a motel room in this lovely little community of Lac La Biche and it’s a very comfortable room. My brother continues to wait for news concerning his house and whether or not it sustained damage. The whole downtown core was flooded out. Around 13 thousand people had to be evacuate. My daughter and her boyfriend were also among them. And the adventures continue.
The biggest challenge has been maintaining social distancing and isolation. My brother and sister in law had to go stay with a granddaughter, whom they had not spent time with since the lockdown. I imagine there are many in similar situations.
And so I am asking for prayers for our city as we continue to cope with these often overwhelming challenges.
Every year in Fort McMurray the ice breaks on the rivers that criss-cross the city. Most years it’s not a problem. Unfortunately this year it’s a problem – a big problem. The Mayor has asked the federal government to send in the military to help. Scenes of flooded streets and news of mandatory evacuations have filled my social media feeds. We live in an area of town that is not affected by this newest dilemma. Unfortunately my daughter as well as my brother and his family live downtown where the flooding is bad. Certain low-lying areas have already been evacuated. My family members have bags packed in preparation, just to be on the safe side. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but there is a distinct possibility. Pictures my daughter sent me show water encroaching on her street. It’s a worry. We cannot get to her as the highway that leads downtown has been temporarily closed to traffic.
I had been wondering about this. As spring gets underway so too does the annual natural disaster season. Tornadoes in the south, and flooding everywhere on the continent are not unusual fare at this time of year. As if the pandemic wasn’t enough of a challenge in and of itself! Below is a video of the flooding, it really is amazing what water can do.
The city has been facing the challenges of the pandemic as well as being hit hard by the downturn in the oil industry, which has hit the town hard economically. And now this. So, I ask for prayers and positive thoughts for this city I call home.
One year ago, today, my husband was sent home from the hospital in the city. He’d had a gall bladder attack and landed in hospital on the 9th of February and after spending almost month there, doctors elected to send him to the city where there was better diagnostic equipment. But, after several weeks and a consultation with the cardiac team, it was decided he was at too big of a risk for surgery and he was sent back home. He’d been air lifted to hospital but we had to find our own way home. Thankfully a friend of ours was able to come pick us up and drive us home. It was a brutal trip. My husband endured it but was in pain the entire journey.
Less than two weeks later it happened again – another gall bladder attack. Once again, he was air lifted to the hospital in Edmonton. This time there was no choice in the matter, that gall bladder had to be removed. I remember sitting with two friends I’d made during his previous stay as I waited through his surgery to learn what the outcome would be. And praying, praying, praying. Needless to say, he survived the surgery. But the lessons I learned about faith in the midst of adversity have stayed with me.
Now, I have written about our experiences before, but as I sit here, I remember the fight to have him return home by plane or at least by ambulance where he could lay flat instead of enduring the long four-hour drive sitting up in a car. He’d just had surgery and was in no condition for that. Every day was stress filled as our local hospital insisted he be released because they didn’t have a bed for him. Back and forth it went with me being adamant that he could not face the long drive in an upright position; that he was still not well enough to come home. In the end he was air lifted back home and readmitted to our local hospital. He would spend a further few weeks there before finally being discharged.
Today we have the shadow of this corona virus hanging over all of us. But my experiences with my husband last year have strengthened my faith and my trust in a loving Creator who answered every prayer last year and during every day since. Yes, I’d had to fight for him, for us. Yes, it was hard. But it is during times of seemingly hopeless situations that hope is renewed, faith is renewed, trust is given. During those days last year, I spent many a sleepless night, often in prayer. Often a “peace beyond all understanding” settled over me. And so I write this, as much to remind myself as it is to share with you the lessons I learned: “God is not dead, nor does he sleep,” are part of the lyrics to the Christmas Carol, I heard the bells on Christmas Day, and these words came to me again and again as I faced the possibility that my husband might die. I also learned to “let go and let God”. I learned the value of prayer that keeps us going and sustains us, even in seemingly dire situations. And so, my friends, take heart. We are not alone. The Creator knows our every need, our every want and desire and sees the big, wide picture, while we see only a small part of it. I don’t know why this is happening. I don’t know why so many are sick or why so many are dying. But I will keep faith in the God who helped us through our situation last year, and who continues to sustain us today.
Stay well. Follow the regulations. Stay home and please, stay safe! As for me, I will continue to pray for you, for me, and for all peoples of our world.