Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Isolation

This global crisis has been hard for so many people, especially those who were already struggling to manage day-to-day life, like the unhoused and people with disabilities. I follow local social justice activists on social media and I can see how much people are struggling and how scared so many people are. Regular life was already difficult and anxiety-inducing and coronavirus, and the lack of financial and social supports, have only multiplied the challenges.

For me, I am grateful for how fortunate we are. We have a comfortable home. We have enough food and easy access to supplies. We have an income and savings. All the things everyone needs and should have to get through this safely. We have each other, our little family of 3, and our sweet silly pup. Our daughter is missing her classes and her friends. But the truth is that we were already living a pretty isolated lifestyle since our baby was stillborn. On the whole, our lives have not really changed that much since the lockdown started. It’s been 8 years since I delivered his body and 5 years since I lost my biggest support network in a way that knocked me down even further. I stopped being able to fly because of panic attacks. We started homeschooling when I realized that for 30+ hours a week our daughter was not going to get the acceptance and support she needed to cope with the loss of her brother. I’m lucky I don’t have to work and can be with her. I‘m happier and healthier staying home rather than going to social gatherings because I can be sad if I need to, or joyful without worrying that people will think I’m “over it”. Even with our dog, she can be reactive to certain people & dogs so we were always moving out of people’s way with her. Now it’s just more acceptable to step into the road to avoid people or to suddenly change directions to avoid busy areas. People don’t look at us like, why are these idiots walking basically a lion. They sometimes even smile and give us a wave. 

Am I happy that now everyone is living this way? That my private life now matches more closely the dominant culture? How can I be happy when so many are suffering and dying, traumatically at home, or tragically alone in hospital. And there’s always the thought that it could happen to us although fortunately, our area has not been hard hit. These are scary and stressful times. In our neighbourhood we do the 7:00 applause for the essential workers getting us through this crisis. I see my neighbours on their balconies enjoying this moment every evening but for me it’s solemn. I bang my little drum or ring some bells but I take it so fucking seriously. I want to cry every damn time. I know most of those workers are not getting compensated or protected nearly enough for the risks they’re being asked to take. Then they have to go home and potentially expose their loved ones to a highly contagious and deadly virus. I do actually think it’s lovely to connect with neighbours in this small way, and to have this to look forward to as a daily ritual. But it’s also a death knell. 

What’s been helping me is seeing more and more people call out the terrible way things were done pre-pandemic, like not caring for the most vulnerable or thinking that because someone is elderly or disabled or ill, it’s kind of ok if they die. That it’s reasonable to ask people to die to protect some rich guy’s stock portfolio. Maybe when it’s all over the world will go back to the way it was because privileged people hate thinking about unpleasant things and don’t want to do the work that will benefit all of us. Or maybe positive change is coming. 









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