March 2020 started as an ordinary month. The first week I attended a couple physio appointments and visited my then 94-year old mother. She was already worried because we had visited Mexico in February and one of the first Covid cases in Alberta was a nurse who had also returned from a Mexico vacation. Oh dear. Gabor Mate says we react in the present to what happened in the past. She was more worried than I was, perhaps taking less for granted.
Other activities that week included a STOP – Sex Trade Offender Program – presentation March 7 and a large fund-raising luncheon March 8 with guest speaker Glori Meldrum, champion of Little Warriors. Glori is an amazing woman who has used her childhood trauma to make a difference in the world.
The following week was one of transition. I missed a meeting because of upset stomach, hardly a Covid symptom, but what was becoming a catch phrase – “an abundance of caution.” A second fund-raiser March 11 was cancelled with many more lunches and meetings falling by the wayside. Our tax information was delivered to our accountant via drop-box.
A Public Health State of Emergency was declared March 17. My husband’s sister died March 20 in Manitoba and we were unable to travel to be with her family.
Having extra time was not all bad. There was no shortage of outstanding projects. For me, the big one was to finish reading the MMIWG report and blog my summaries of each chapter. I learned to Skype and video-chat. We enjoyed a few outside visits in our south facing yard. Our neighbor died unexpectedly of a heart attack April 10, the Friday before Easter. Many people were dealing with much more than Covid.
My husband mastered grocery shopping via Super Store Express. I organized notices in local newspapers in lieu of a party to celebrate my mother’s 95th birthday. One of the papers interviewed her about longevity and took a picture from the street. She was happy with the notoriety.
The horrible Nova Scotia shooting April 19 dominated news for the next few days. Afternoons with Vassy Kapelos on Power and Politics became our new normal, followed by a quick supper and another hour of local news.
We attended a drop-by driveway gathering for a grand-daughter’s 14th birthday. I experimented with new recipes and watched more TV special than usual, plus several online presentations. Kenny Rogers. Healing Songs. God Friended Me. Survivor forums. April passed quickly.
The days warmed in May. We relaxed our restrictions to allow a couple of the grand-boys help with badly needed yard work and the cleaning of a shed. My film-maker friend interviewed me outside on our deck and at the cemetery – still about MMIW awareness!
We watched another grand-daughter complete her blue belt in karate – instructor and spectators all via video . My project of the month was to request official recognition from ACSW of our Commercial Sexual Exploitation Committee.
Phase 1 Relaunch began May 14. REACH Edmonton requested community submissions re “marking the moment” so I tried making my own video. I thought the result was quite satisfactory but it was not used. I bought masks in case of emergency and attended a book club meeting via Zoom. More online discussions. At the Edge of Margins. Engaging Men and Boys. Social Drivers of Sexual Consumerism.
My first venture out to pick up Chinese food was May 16, our first careful dinner with family May 19. May 25 was the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, an image seared into the consciousness of America. May 30 was my first hair cut, also important.
Convoy for Action – National Inquiry Calls for Justice – June 3 allowed social protest in socially distanced vehicles. In spite of feeling solidarity, I passed on joining 10,000 or so other Albertans June 5 in protesting Black Lives Matter.
Another book club via Zoom. News ways to perceive the challenges of other times and cultures through chosen books. The Gown. Nellie Bly. Washington Black. My writing group finally met in person June 10, “bring your own chair,” in one of our member’s lovely back yard after several Skype alternatives. More online events. Truth and Reconciliation. Calls to Action.
Phase 2 Relaunch began June 12. Careful gatherings continued with chosen family and friends. One couple declined. The challenge these days is to reach out thoughtfully while respecting that other may have different boundaries. Still no hugs for the most part. An online AGM. Medical appointments – that is where protocol is most evident with masks, face protectors, questionnaires, temperature checks.
At a much-appreciated Canada Day reunion, a group of friends huddled briefly for a picture, then decided not to post in for fear of offending anyone – or being reported.
Another online offering was free participation in a Super Conference from United Kingdom on Trauma, Mind, and Body. For a few days, I listened to new speakers and familiar favorites explore the dimensions of developmental trauma, coping strategies, and healing as a lifelong journey. My mind and heart were quite full.
These reflections take me through the first week of July. More to follow later!