Peggy Taillon It’s been two years since the World Health Organization received reports of a highly infectious and severe respiratory infection moving rapidly in Wuhan China, December 31st 2019 to be precise. Two years. At times this journey feels like we’ve lived 20 years, at other times two minutes. It’s like we are all actors in an apocalyptic movie. Yet it is far from fiction. This is life playing out in ways that were inconceivable only two years ago. Who could have imagined our world in total lock down? Who could have imagined that the world would, willingly stop, that we would collectively take extreme measures, isolate, don PPE, line up for vaccines, adapt, heed science? Much has been revealed to us throughout this journey, hard truths about what we hold dear, about what value we place on our collective health and wellbeing, about the conditions that we have left our elders, and marginalized communities in. Covid put a mirror before us and the reflection wasn’t all together good. It’s wasn’t all bad either, it also revealed points of light, our willingness to sacrifice what we hold dear for others, our willingness to share, our deep sense of community, compassion and willingness to be better. We also learned that we have it within us to innovate, step up and move quickly, go further faster when are backs are against the wall. That we are capable of incredible feats when we come together. We’re also capable of learning and adapting. With information emerging, and shifting sometimes within hours, we are proving that we can change directions without notice when it is for the collective good. But we’re also tired, beyond tired actually, and some of that good will and patience is eroding giving way to understandable frustration, anger and indifference. We’re no longer banging pots and pans to honour healthcare’s frontline, giving less, losing our patience with public health and government officials as the personal toll we are all carrying continues to grow. We’re at a point when we desperately need to imbue a new approach or perspective to what feels like, a torturous ground hog day loop that is not remotely as funny as the movie. Because we are still very much in this, and we still need each other’s good will, patience and compassion, likely more than we did before because damn, we are tired. When I was working through our adoption journey, there were moments I felt like I was trapped, stuck. I was so desperate to get to the end of the journey and be declared Dev’s mom by the High Court in Kenya, I just wanted it to be over. I would set up these sign posts, by Mother’s Day, by summer, by my birthday, by christmas we’ll be home. Truth is I had done everything I could do, put everything in place for the best outcome, but I was not in control of the process and definitely not in control of the outcome. And one September afternoon, nine months into the process, this lesson hit hard, after a terrifying panic attack following a call from my adoption agency who told me, I needed to know that I could be there for another nine months or another year and still not be successful. When I picked myself up from the floor, I sat there staring at 9 month old Devlin who was smiling at me, and said, okay I just need to be in this, we just need to go through this there’s no other way. No more goals, except for the end goal of becoming a family. Just go through. When I think about how we have been navigating the pandemic, we’ve been unintentionally adding more pressure to ourselves, setting goals, timelines and sign posts that we truly have no control over. We’ve been trying to work around it, when we need to work, through it. We keep saying things like, we just need to do this until we get to this threshold, or to the spring, or by christmas, or by summer, or when school starts….these expectations make it all feel so much harder. Look at how our mental well-being has been impacted. Maybe a shift in perspective can help. And listen, I know we’ve done everything asked of us, we’ve sacrificed, adapted, shifted in a constant loop. But we need to shift our language and our expectations, stop saying when the pandemic ends, by Christmas this by spring that, and start living through the pandemic. We need to start asking what do we need to do to get back to living our lives through the pandemic? What do we need to adapt? How can we do what we need to do, what we want to do safely through the pandemic? And we need to stop putting timelines around the journey and just be in it. We need to protect each other — body, mind and spirit. We need each other, that is the one truth that remains after all is said and done, we need to love each other, we need to come together and go through in unity as one humanity, and yes that’s how we’ll get through.
Peggy Taillon Founder and President HERA Mission
www.heramission.org @heramission 613-769-5499