It’s nigh-impossible to go a day without hearing about COVID-19, without catching a glimpse of it on social media or hearing passing conversations about it on the street (hopefully from people 2 metres away from you because, y’know, social distancing and all) or seeing an ad about it. It’s overwhelming. But thankfully, I’m not here to preach what the fantastic doctors, nurses and scientists have said. I could but I won’t, don’t worry. Instead I’m here to hopefully give my pass at a more light-hearted version of what’s happening and hopefully to reassure people with my vague, meandering thoughts.
Disclaimer: I am British, I might spell words differently, but I promise you it’s correct somewhere!
Within the space of 36 hours I was well and truly submerged in COVID-19, and not like any other major news either. At first, I told myself I was reading articles to stay updated and informed, but eventually, like many others, I had begun to struggle parting ways with news updates, debates and discussion. I quickly found myself tormented by it. It scared me. It still does. But up to a day ago the stress of it all had manifested into physical pain, it hurt my head, my heart, my soul. Part of me scolded myself – why wasn’t I more prepared? After a few hours of reflection I concluded that there was no preparing for this.
I joined COVID-19 YYC Volunteers seeking exactly that: support. I discovered something much better. Genuinely, from the depths of my being, it is truly heartwarming to see people helping people for no other reason than their humanity urged them to. Many of us, those who are wrestling to cope with whatever bad fortune COVID-19 may have brought you, can discover a tender solace within another’s humanity. To be reminded that there is goodness in the most normal of people, people who aren’t saints and saviours, but just people. Just being a person, just being a community, is what we need right now. However benevolence cannot support people all by itself, and I encourage those who can and those who are better off to give to those who are facing difficult decisions and empty purses if you already haven’t. It is a team effort. We shoulder the burden of COVID-19 and what it may bring together.
Humanity doesn’t just exist in those that are giving, but to those asking for help. It’s a difficult thing to do, I and many others recognise your bravery. Amidst this weird, stagnant chaos of still streets, it can be easy to overthink. To those that require help but have not asked, know you can do so without prying judgement when you are ready.
There are uncertain times ahead, a future riddled with questions and unease can be difficult for a person to summarise and just get on with. I am lucky in that I have people around me (or a 9 hour flight away, but the power of WhatsApp facetime!) but others may not. But know this: that you are not alone. It’s easy to think so when in isolation, but you aren’t. Someone, somewhere, will help. To those that can spare it, offer not just your guidance or your services, but your ear, your stories, your art, your favourite sauce to have with grilled cheese — you get the idea.
A lot of tenacious fortitude will have to be mustered up in the coming weeks or months, but you don’t have to have it upon only your shoulders. Offer a hand, take a hand or be a compassionate presence, and know this is temporary. One day it will be a thing of the past. A thing to discuss when it’s over, over a dinner date with friends or with a kind stranger on the C-Train.
Over the next however long, I will try and consistently write small articles and pieces to keep you entertained or distracted. If you have any suggestions, I will kindly take them!
By. Ellie Reeves