April 28 – National Day of Mourning

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Pondering during the Pandemic: 

When I decided to write today, I didn’t realize it was our National Day of Remembrance for all who’ve suffered injury or death while on the job.  With the pandemic happening around the world the last couple months, it is especially important to remember those who work for the health and safety of all citizens – the health care workers, the cleaners, the food suppliers, the manufacturers of personal protective equipment.  Those of us whose only “job” is to stay home – and who are lucky enough to receive a pension – are humbled and inspired by all those working to sustain the health of the bigger population.

For all practical purposes, my husband and I began our isolation on March 17.  Having returned from a vacation to Mexico three weeks earlier, we were cautious about the risk of having picked up this mysterious virus during our travels and relieved as the weeks passed with no symptoms.  Airports have always struck me as possible cauldrons of infection where every germ in the world could be circulating in the bustling crowds.  Back home we carried as usual with meetings, medical appointments, lunches, visiting and shopping, somewhat skeptical of those who were already more restrained.

I’m not sure what made the difference, probably a combination of public health directives, growing awareness, and concern as cases in Alberta grew to 74 on March 16 from the first reported one March 5.  It’s amazing how much can change in just six weeks.  Back then, watching for early signs of leveling, we thought our adjustments would be over by now.

So how have I used my gift of time?  Reasonably well so far, I believe.  My first project was to finish reading and summarizing the MMIWG Inquiry report, a commitment I made last spring.  Please see the ten previous blogs posted during March and April as testimony to my efforts.  I know most implementation strategies are on hold but hopefully, my references will be of some assistance once Canada is ready again.  The essence of the Calls for Justice is that Indigenous women have been systematically deprived of human rights and deserve true equality in all outcomes regarding laws, leadership, security, spirituality, culture, health and safety

During this time I have also maintained regular posts on the MissingCara Facebook page.  My themes continue to be awareness of the impact of trauma, the possibility of healing, the importance of kindness and gratitude, recognition of human rights, and of course, advocacy to eliminate sexual exploitation.  Most of my post are in fact “re-posts” so I would like to express my appreciation for the community of like-minded persons and organizations who inspire my spirit.  Since mid-March, many thoughts have naturally turned to coping with new social rules and increased isolation.

An additional concern during this time of “social distancing” is those who are not safe at home: children with no place to escape who are subject to the frustrations and perversions of their parents or care-givers; and women already at risk for “domestic” violence who have no relief from routines of bullying and entitlement.  There are also reports of increased pornography use which could distort relationship expectations for years to come.  That is another public health crisis the world will need to address.

Today we mourn, tomorrow we move forward.  Long-term care of the elderly is an emerging social issue.  Why do so many workers have multiple part-time positions in multiple facilities?  Is it possible that facilities resist creating full-time positions because of the added cost of benefits?  We know that most private organizations are profit-driven and that employees are often considered expendable.  One example is the increasing use of contracted services.   The rights of workers must be balanced with service in our economy.

The Day of Mourning began 23 years ago in Canada.  Today is also a time to think about the living and to ensure justice and equality for all citizens, at work and at home.   As often stated by medical officers during this pandemic, “We are all in this together.

Thank you again to all who provide light to my days and to those who follow, like, and share my posts.  We will get through this, life will be different, and we have the opportunity to do better.