Voice of Reason
|Posted on April 15, 2020 at 12:25 AM|
NEVER HAVE I EVER EXPERIENCED A PANDEMIC!
NEVER HAVE I EVER THOUGHT THERE WOULD BE MASS BURIALS IN A FIRST WORLD NATION IN 2020!
NEVER HAVE I EVER THOUGHT THE ENTIRE WORLD COULD SHUT DOWN!
NEVER HAVE I EVER WITNESSED THE DEATH OF SO MANY WORLDWIDE!
AND NEVER WOULD I EVER WISH THIS UPON ON OUR WORLD AGAIN!
#coronaapocalypse #nottodaycorrrrona #socialisolation
Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected 2020 to be the year of worldwide sorrow and suffering. As I toasted in the New Year way back in January I had high hopes for the year. I wished for more job hours at the school division where I love to spend my days with the students. I had my sights set on some trips to Arizona, Ottawa, Niagara Falls, of course the mountains, and some camping destinations. There was to be celebrations for my son and daughter who were both graduating, one from high school the other from university. There were plans in the works to spend time with my great nieces in British Columbia. I was so hoping for warm weather this summer to take advantage of the lakes in our own backyard and up north to fish and play. And now, the biggest dreams I have are being able to plant some flowers, have a fire in my own backyard, walk my dog and weather permitting spend as much time outside in my patch of yard as possible.
The world as I know it has come to an end. Jumping in the car to have supper with my elderly dad is no longer an option. I can’t buy groceries daily whenever and however I want, meeting my friends for lunch is out of the question, Wing Wednesdays at the local watering hole is off the list of pleasures, picking a new read out of the library is off limits, even gathering to worship is no longer an accepted practice. My whole life has been turned upside down. It is alienating, stressful, and even disorientating. And yet, I truly can’t complain because I am blessed and I am lucky that these are my problems for there are so many more across my family, my community, my province, my country, and the world that are suffering great loneliness, strife, and loss.
Loneliness is one of the greatest emotional cripplers that humans can experience. With social distancing on steroids that we are experiencing right now loneliness is a mental health issue that is plaguing many. There is no social gatherings, many are not working and interacting in their place of business, kids are not with their peers in school, extracurricular activities are halted, and even going to church is off limits. People are home, scared, and stressed over things like money, health and the interruption in their routine add loneliness to the mix and it is a catalyst for mental anguish.
I feel overwhelmed that I can’t freely go and do what I want when I want with who I want. I feel alone sometimes and disconnected. I just want to go out to a friends and have a visit or meet up for a coffee or head out for supper for a change of scenery. But, all of that is off limits. I can however stay home and be with my husband and kids. I can’t imagine being ALL alone at home day in and day out for God only knows how long. It would be daunting and terrifying. What would I do? How would I entertain myself? I know that I can still talk to people on the phone, over Facetime or meet on Zoom but it is still not actual physical interaction. There are many throughout our families, communities, and onward that are alone. There are seniors in homes that are literally locked in their small rooms, single people that have lost their jobs and are now staying home all by themselves, there are so many different scenarios of people on their own throughout these times.
My father is 87 years old lives at home with his cat. He loves to go 5 times a week to the senior centre for coffee or down to his buddy’s shop to swap talk over a cup of java. He walks 1 mile a day and enjoys helping out his neighbour by picking up her mail and putting out her trash. He does odd jobs around her place when she needs help. Funny thing about it is that she thinks of him as a son – HE’S 87! He goes to church on Sundays, senior nights one Thursday a month, and has tickets to the drama performances in his town. My dad also drives up to Rocky Mountain House at least once a month for a couple days, and he likes to travel. He is a busy guy to say the least. All of his activities have stopped. He is living in isolation except for his once a day walk only if the weather is decent enough and he has to stay 6 feet from anyone walking by. His amazing neighbours pick up his groceries for him and run any errands that need to be done. He has had a few wonderful people drop off meals to him so he visits for a few minutes while they stand outside, otherwise he is alone. I feel isolated and alone and I live with 3 other people. My poor dad is on his own indefinitely. He did say that he is glad he has experienced being on his own for a long time otherwise it would be really difficult.
My sister is a frontline worker that is in the hospital working every day. At the end of the day she come home to her 2 cats. She is thankful that she has work because at least she gets to interact with people otherwise she would be completely alone. Again when my loneliness hits I have to give myself a great boot in the attitude because again at least I’m not alone. There are so many out there all by themselves with no support.
I am challenging all those that have taken the time to read this to reach out and tackle the loneliness in our world right now. Pick up that telephone and actually talk to someone that needs some interaction. Don’t just text actually dial up a friend or family member and let them hear your voice. Stimulate more than one of their senses. Deliver a meal, send some flowers, surprise a friend with book on their doorstep to help them spend some time on something different, call a friend for a walk or if the weather is nice head out for a driveway visit. I have challenged my dad to get his 70 years’ worth of slides in order now that he has time. The options are endless. In my community a local business created a family wagon of Easter Bunnies that travelled into all the neighbourhoods to bring Easter joy. My sister had a surprise of kitty toys hanging from her door handle, as I mentioned before my dad’s neighbours have looked after getting his errands done for him, others have dropped off wonderful meals for him, I talk to my dad every day and make a point of going up at least once a week to sit on the driveway and talk to him, my church dropped off Easter care packages with a note of encouragement. Do your part to break the chain of loneliness. We need everyone healthy and that includes mentally healthy to help fight the devastation of COVID-19. We may not all be frontline workers but we have the potential to help those in need. Let’s all do our part.