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Covid Chronicles

2021 in a nutshell...

Welcome to the Covid Chronicles. Isn't it crazy to think that a virus we thought would stick around for a month has turned into 2 years? Covid never really impeded my life, no one close to me was infected, my job was secure, and I wasn't really scared of it. So my life felt as if it went on unbothered. Of course life as we knew it would change forever. Siri knows how to unlock our phones with just the look in our eyes and we no longer hold the door for each other because we wouldn't dare get closer then 6ft. Sanitizer has become the new fragrance of choice and our jacket pockets are overflowing with medical masks. Tell me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure I'm not.. I remember the times we would leave the house and do a mental checklist, Phone, Wallet, Keys, check, check, check. And now it's become, Phone, Wallet, Keys, Mask, Sanitizer, oh shoot do I have my vaccination status? What a crazy world we live in, but it has become second nature to us now. We have been conditioned to wash as soon as we get home and that if numbers climb you better rush to the market before the toilet paper runs out. I can accredit COVID for changing some of our filthy ways but I discredit the fact it took human interaction and made us fearful of it. Who would have guessed that seeing family outside your immediate residence would become illegal and the world would shut down. Sometimes I forget that really happened..

And maybe thats where we got complacent. We got use to this new normal, to the point that we seemed untouchable. Until one of us gets sick. Then it becomes real.

Well that was me, December 17 2021 I fell sick with what I would soon find out is COVID-19. ME??? Crazy to think I worked a full year on the frontline, 3 months in a college with 400+ people, and received 2 vaccinations and only now, my first weekend off in 4 months, I get sick. I thought my body was telling me to slow down, that it had reached its point of over exhaustion and it needed some rest. My body was aching, basically screaming at me to take it for a massage. I took my Theragun and did everything in my power to make the muscle pain go away, I truly thought I worked out too hard that week. Next, a fever broke out of nowhere, my skin was so hot to the touch that I swore it was going to fall right off, but I was as frozen as an ice cube inside. I took the hottest shower you could imagine and wrapped myself in 5 blankets, I was basically a human burrito. I woke up in the morning and was greeted with the worst migraine I had ever experienced, I was under a dizzy spell. Needless to say I stayed on the couch all weekend, Netflix and rest would be the remedy I needed, I was convinced. 5AM Monday morning, alarm wailing and my head ringing. I had this gut feeling that something just wasn't quite right. I texted my supervisors and advised them I wasn't feeling well but I am almost positive it wasn't COVID.

At least I was optimistic for a little bit of time right?

Off to shoppers I went to get a rapid test done. "Um Miss Coleman, your results actually came back positive." I was in absolute disbelief, I thought this might have been a cold at best. So to my amazement I was sent to isolate at home for 10 days and would patiently await my PCR test results. As days progressed my symptoms started to lessen and lessen but each day brought a new mild sign of COVID. First it was the dry cough and congestion. Next came the loss of appetite and senses of smell and taste. And anybody who knows me understands how much I love food, adding a spice medley so aromatic it filled the air. Well, to my amazement I couldn't smell the food I was making and my potatoes and chicken all just tasted like the same nothingness. Truly heartbreaking. I am not joking when I tell you I was nose deep in my absolute favourite candle trying to get the smallest whiff of it and NOTHING. This was a sure sign to me that I had COVID.

My days consisted of attempting to sleep in as long as possible, after all I had nothing else to do. I would get out of bed only to walk about 10 steps and slump onto the couch, 8 hours later I would take 10 more steps and fold right back into bed.

By day 5 I started to transition from a giant germ and into a human again. I was able to slowly ease into working out. It surely wasn't the greatest idea to throw a barbell on my back. I nearly fainted. BUT it surely got my moral up. I still didn't have an appetite but at least I felt a little less lazy.

Day 7 arrived and this was the peak of insanity. Day 7 was Christmas Eve, at this point my PCR results came back and I was in fact positive, but we already guessed that. I broke the news to my family that I wouldn't be able to bless them with my presence at family dinner, and soon the sadness set in. Christmas was already a strange time of year, still grieving the loss of my mother, but now it felt like I was grieving the loss of genuine human connection. Soon my whole family would be gathered around a table sharing stories of 2021, the good and the bad, they would bow their heads and pray for the year ahead, and they would feast over a mountain of food. All the while I sit in my apartment with my frozen pizzas and watch yet another Christmas movie in my PJs.

Christmas Eve was always a special day for my family, we would spend it with moms side of the family sharing dinner, everyone bickering around the table and way too much wine would be flowing. This is the third Christmas without her. And it is a bit strange to say the least. It was almost a relief to not be celebrating Christmas. To treat it like any other day made it seem a little more bearable. So I dedicated this day to remembering her and spent it with her in spirit. I put my nice suit pants on and slipped into my black loafers, the first time wearing nice clothes in a week. I did my hair nice and I walked out the door, got into my car and I drove to share coffee with her. I probably stood at the base her grave. For a moment I sat their in disbelief, am I really staring at my mother right now? I felt lost, I didn't know what to say, I didn't know if I should say anything at all. Finally words started to part from my mouth, "hmm Merry Christmas Mom" followed by "I don't really know how to do this but here we go.." I stayed there for an hour, giving her a hard time for leaving me, begging her to show me the path I need to take next, and overall reminding her how loved she still is. I know she already knew this stuff, she's always watching, she's moving and manipulating my life like a game of chess everyday.

I felt quite uneasy after this interaction, probably more lost and confused then before I visited her. So I drove to our spot. The bench on the beach where we would share coffees on Sunday mornings and watch the sunset in the evenings. I sat there and just soaked it in. I let the wind rush through my hair and the rain just ever so slightly fell down on my skin. The waves were receding and crashing hard on the surface, something she always admired about the beach. I felt at peace, for the first time in a few months. I could feel her presence on our bench, her arms wrapped around my shoulders, emitting her motherly presence through me. I flung my shoes off and took a stroll on the beach, toes deep in the December cold sand. I began to reminisce about the fond memories we shared on that very sand. The Canada Day fireworks, the beach volleyball games, early morning bike rides and late night sea glass excursions. Oh how I miss you...

As I stood there alone I really began to wonder, how is this fair? How is it that the most important person can be ripped from your grasp and there isn't anything you can do about it. And the worst part, you're just expected to go on with life. How do you come to peace with that?

There comes a time when you no longer just grieve the person you lost, but you grieve the life that you once lived. When you lose someone it takes bits and pieces from all areas of your life. It took a piece from sports, she was always my biggest fan. It took a piece from holidays, now we have an empty seat. It took the happiness I use to feel on that beach, no more bike rides into the sunrise. It takes a piece from who you are as a person. I no longer have a mother and it leaves a corner of my heart empty and cold. Two full years can really change a person and I wonder if I make her proud, I wonder what life would look like and if Christmas would still be as magical as it use to be if she was still here. A family can only be as strong as its weakest link and when that link is 6ft in the ground it weakens the chain.

I drove back home and did what I did best, I went for a run. Trying so desperately to achieve that runners high, to feel an ounce of happiness from something that brings me joy. When I got to that high I took a deep breathe and let out my frustration **AHHHHHHHH**. Here I realized that in 2021 I achieved so much. I almost swept my hard work, long nights, and early mornings under the rug because I didn't get to close out the year with my loved ones, what a small minded thing to do. When I walked back in my front door I poured myself a generous glass of wine, and for a moment I thought about everything I had done this year. I started the year off as a fresh graduate and working on the front line, I moved out on my own and began my independent life. I attended my first seminar as an author (showcasing my book), I trained and conquered my first half marathon. I applied and successfully got promoted. I bought a new car. I went through 3 months of demanding training and education for my job. And I made some really amazing friends along the way. I got COVID-19. And above else I survived.

Day 8 of Isolation.. Christmas Day. Remember those days when you were a child and you ran into your parents bedroom at 6AM became you knew Santa had visited and you were eager to open presents? And then as you grew up and your parents came barging into your room eager to get their day going so they peel you out of bed at 10AM to open presents. And then you come to a point in your adult life where you no longer live at home. There isn't anybody waiting on you to open presents and you have to get into your car and travel to see your loved ones. It's a strange day when you wake up in your own space. I woke up that morning and tried to pretend it wasn't Christmas morning, dull the pain so to speak? Maybe if I pretended it wasn't real it wouldn't hurt as much? But we cant run away from our problems, we have to run towards them. So again, I roll out of bed, push start on the nespresso and get ready for my day. Slipping one leg after the other into my suit pants, left then right foot into my loafers, and rift through the numerous turtlenecks in my closet. I grabbed my favourite felt hat, the one that made me feel like I could conquer anything, and I slipped out my front door. I fill my trunk with Christmas presents for my loved ones, put my medical mask on, and sit in my car while I wait for my brother and dad to pull in the driveway. What an odd way to spend Christmas. 6ft apart, outdoors, masks on, and acting as if I have the plague, well I guess I do. After a brief moment shared together we go on our merry ways, my family to the cottage and be back to my shoebox of an apartment.

It's a bit heartbreaking having your favourite people in the world right in front of you and not being able to give them the biggest bearhug. Especially when all three of you are grieving in your own way on this day. COVID truly put a damper on a holiday that already hurt to celebrate.

So as Christmas Day comes to a close I sit back and realize it was a bittersweet holiday. I got to spend the days exactly (well minus the fact I didn't see loved ones) how I wanted. Waking up feeling stronger than the last day, grateful to be alive. I roll out of bed and stumble to the kitchen to pour some hot coffee. I take a sip of fresh coffee and realize this is my new life. I am an independent women who has a story to tell and lessons to teach those willing to listen. I do not feel bad about being sad and mourning the loss of my best friend, we all will experience this in life, but it is how we take the next step forward. My step is vocalizing and understanding this grieving process and putting myself first to be okay. I am okay this Christmas because I put me first. I prioritized my health and allowed myself to feel each and every emotion, while isolating.

Maybe COVID came at a good time for me. Yes it set me back in my process at work, but maybe it was exactly what I needed to set me forward in my mindset.

I can choose to be sad but why not make something of this day.

Wake up. Work hard. Be proud.

xo Merry Christmas Momma

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