Letters to the Editor.

Some silver linings to an otherwise dreadful year

Sister’s recovery and family Zoom meetings improve the atmosphere

On Feb. 29, 2020, my partner and I moved from an acreage in South Shawnigan to a populated sub-division in Chemainus. It was a major downsize and a very different lifestyle but we felt we were ready.

Then we all know what happened. COVID hit within days of our move and worse was to come with England being hit so hard, my friends and family who had planned visits that summer were regretfully having to cancel. We had moved away from people we’d known for a long time, to a strange area, and were effectively isolated from the world. My partner’s children live on the mainland and mine in Vancouver and Jamaica. The future looked a little bleak.

Then we realized that being quarantined when you’ve just moved means you get on with it! We unpacked, arranged and rearranged. Threw out old utilities and bought new ones. Decorated, cleaned, scrubbed, walked the dogs – because there was little else to do. No one interrupted us, there were no distractions, it was all done in a flash.

We had been made to feel welcome by friendly and delightful neighbours from the outset. Even when someone walked by the house, they would introduce themselves, welcome us to the neighbourhood and give us a warm smile and we wished we could organize an open house so that we could invite everyone. But the COVID situation just went on and on, seeming to improve and raising our hopes only to become much worse and plunge us into more restrictions. Frankly, I was wondering if our decision to move at all had been wise.

Then two things happened that made me reassess the situation.

At the end of October in England, my only sister suddenly collapsed with heart failure, not COVID related. The prognosis was bleak. I could not get to see her in the short time they predicted she had left as restrictions were very tight in the U.K. and now her whole family had been summoned to her bedside.

Hanging on, she was eventually relocated to a hospice where we awaited the inevitable end. I’d been very close to my sister and my brother-in-law and knew he was suffering badly but I was powerless. Air Canada would fly me because of the circumstances but I was required to self-isolate for 14 days. They didn’t think I had that long. Then came the call that she had made a sudden and miraculous turn and was improving. Unbelievably, within days she was able to get out of bed and was gaining mobility. Next thing I knew she was going home and, against all odds, I spoke to her, live and in person, on Christmas Eve, in her own living room.

As if this wasn’t enough to make me rethink my opinion of 2020 as the worst year in my memory, on Christmas Day my daughter in Vancouver organized a Zoom meeting for me, her brother in Jamaica and herself. It was marvelous. A different kind of miracle than the recovery of my sister but a miracle nonetheless for someone like me. There we all were on screen, sharing Christmas Day as a family for the first time in 13 years.

We were all so excited by it that we had a repeat performance on New Year’s Eve.

So in a nutshell, although there have been some awful repercussions of this virus, it has also made me really appreciate some of the more insignificant daily habits I’d begun to take for granted. Being forced to make the most of small things I have realized how lucky I am to live where I do among kind, caring people and in an age that shrinks the world so that we can, figuratively speaking, reach out and touch one another in real time. 2020 wasn’t so bad to me. It picked me up, it shook me but it put me down with a stroke of my hair. Now, it said, that’s how bad it can be, so go forward with a better attitude and smell the roses.

Penny Astley,

Chemainus

CoronavirusOpinion

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chemainus Health Care Centre residents have been vaccinated. (Photo by Don Bodger)
First vaccinations done at Chemainus Health Care Centre, Steeples

Relief to have the vulnerable population protected against COVID-19

Dog owners, from left, Marlyn Briggs with Nayla, Marjory Sutherland with Effie and Mick, and Christina Godbolt with Conon walk their pets frequently at the Chemainus Ball Park but are growing increasingly concerned about drugs being found discarded in the area. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Puppy requires emergency treatment three times after ingesting drugs

Dog owners walking in Chemainus parks urged to take caution

Danielle Groenendijk and Bo were on the run and having fun during the last month. (Photo submitted)
Putting your time to good use

Groenendijk goes the extra kilometre to raise funds for Parkinson’s

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Cartoonist Rob Kernachan.
Kernachan’s cartoon flashback 2008

Carbon footprint reference still pertinent today

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The First Nations Leadership Council says an attempt by industry to overturn the phasing out of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in contrary to their inherent Title and Rights. (THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward photo)
First Nations Leadership Council denounces attempt to overturn salmon farm ban

B.C.’s producers filed for a judicial review of the Discovery Islands decision Jan. 18

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

More than 100 B.C. fishermen, fleet leaders, First Nations leaders and other salmon stakeholders are holding a virtual conference Jan. 21-22 to discuss a broad-range of issues threatening the commercial salmon fishery. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. commercial salmon fishermen discuss cures for an industry on the brink

Two-day virtual conference will produce key reccomendations for DFO

Most Read