Nice try, pandemic, but you are not going to make me afraid all the time. I know what you’re thinking: that Kelly is an easy target. She’s afraid of spiders, horror films, can openers and open-toed shoes. All true. But if you thought your germ warfare would render me fearful 24/7, you seriously underestimated me.
There have been a few intense moments. I’ll own that. It was horrible to wait for my friend’s COVID-19 results after she was exposed. It’s awful fretting about my nurse buddies who were facing the same fate. It was scary to send my daughter to her job in a long-term health care facility knowing she was vulnerable. Playing on my maternal heart-strings was cruel, pandemic, just like you.
You almost took me down when I saw how sad my fun-loving, independent Aunt Dee Dee was after I explained that she could not leave her apartment, period. Not for a day or two, but for the unseen future. She was going to have let me take care of her. Honestly, seeing someone I adore feel vulnerable and lonely almost broke my heart.
But you underestimated the strength of my heart, you foolish pandemic. Just because I have mastered worry doesn’t mean I have lost faith in the things I hold true, like the power of unconditional courage, love and gratitude. And humour. Don’t forget the power of laughter. Clearly you didn’t know my name actually means “warrior” in Gaelic. Never cross a Gaelic warrior girl, even if I am Canadian-born and have never been to any country where Gaelic is spoken. (And ignore the fact that I was given my name by my father who also is not Gaelic, but won the right to name me because he won the gender bet the day I was born. You know, in all fairness, I won that bet and will be negotiating my $50 reward post-quarantine. Dad, I accept e-transfers.)
Look here, pandemic, I refuse to live in fear. I follow the rules. I stay home unless I absolutely have to run errands for Aunt Dee Dee and I am so careful, but paranoia will not rule me. Not happening. Sure, I had tears when my friend tested negative for your stupid COVID-19. Happy tears. You didn’t get to her. You won’t either.
Nor have you stopped any of the people I know who face you every day on those frontlines, because they are vigilant in their efforts to squash you. And my daughter? She is learning that compassion for vulnerable people is the essence of humanity. She loves her job. And Aunt Dee Dee enjoys our Saturday morning visits, even if she’s on the balcony and I’m yelling to her from the lawn. Physical distancing is important, but social connection is vital.
I don’t worry about my parents. Well, I worry about whether or not my mom has started throwing things at my father and how quick his reflexes are, but really, I know they are self-sufficient.
Despite your best efforts, pandemic, you cannot break my spirit. You won’t get my peace either. I decide. I will offer my prayers to those who are in battle against you and the loved ones of those lost to your wretched virus. I will do my part to do the right thing. And I will hold on to the belief that this too shall pass. After all, I will have 50 bucks to spend.