Hardships and Challenges - Written Submissions

My husband passed away at the age of 41 from bile duct cancer. A few days later, the COVID closures started to be announced – schools, work, stores. My three children and I entered what can only be described as the most surreal nightmare in which nothing made sense anymore – in our home or outside of it. We were cut off from family, friends and faith community. And while everyone tried their best to “virtually support” us – I can say this – there is no substitution for person to person relationships. No substitute for a hug or a shoulder to cry on.
Anonymous, Kitchener 

My 1-year-old nephew has had some respiratory problems in his short life already. He’s even had a puffer. I talked to him through the windows. Blowing kisses, making fart noises (his absolute favourite) and playing peek-a-boo around the window frame. Those few seconds were bliss. Then he reached out to me, for me to pick him up. The window was still there, closed, but without thinking, I stepped back. I knew I couldn’t touch him but it was just a gut reaction. I couldn’t risk getting him sick. The first thing I’m going to do, once it’s safe to do so, is give that kid a million kisses. God I miss him.
Anonymous, Cambridge

April 1 was my grandson’s 5th birthday. Social distancing and restrictions for get togethers kept us from being there. Seniors especially. Breaks my heart we are not with him. We phoned and sent cards. I sent a video, talked to the boys. I am missing so much.
Sharon Murphy, Cambridge 

I have also been struggling with having a purpose and a need to go on my computer. If I don’t have a reason to go on the computer there is not much to do around here. I have lost most of my support system, all those people who help me. I cannot have my mom, my friend, or volunteers help me right now. I understand what we are all going through but working without my normal support structure is difficult. I really do not want to lean on the Sunnyside staff because they have programs to conduct and things they need to be doing to help other residents. I do not want to take time away from others.
Susan Shantz, Kitchener

I want people to know that it wasn’t all Zoom meetings and bread baking during this time. This period of isolation has been hard, very hard on some of us. We had a beloved matriarch who was undergoing chemotherapy since March. She had to attend appointments alone, without support. In early May she was admitted to the hospital for a second round of aggressive chemotherapy. Complications developed and her stay extended. No one was allowed to visit. No one, not even her husband of almost 60 years. She would call us sometimes, crying and lonely. And afraid.
Anonymous, Elmira 

The hardest part has been not seeing family and friends. In a lot of cases, this is the longest I have ever gone without seeing them in my entire life.
Lindsay Weir, Kitchener

I miss going to the bank. I used to go at least once a week and it was one of those habits that I enjoyed. I haven’t been there since March 12th. I think that’s one of the things I miss the most. I liked to go into town and do my errands and chat to various people while doing do. That does not happen now. I go from Point A to Point B.
Lorna Weber, Elmira 

The moment I will remember most in that time was in the grocery store helping my parents to stock up on supplies for the coming weeks. My mom and I had been to 3 stores that day attempting to get everything on the list…and it was not a long list. It was my first experience of bare shelves and the panic buying that was happening. I was overwhelmed by the experience and just wanted to get home. I stood there and wept. It was just too much. Apparently I wasn’t the only one having meltdowns like that in the middle of the grocery store.
Rachel Bolton, Kitchener

In me, I detect anger. My life has been cancelled a full two weeks at this point. So many of us “oldsters”, with lives to varying degrees, dependent on community centre activities was the first to get unceremoniously halted. Little warning, no psychological prep time, other than the odd person expressing on the preceding Thursday, “I don’t know that I’ll be coming next week with this thing.” I am aware I am angry. I’ve been feeling incarcerated for a full two weeks.
Jacqui Cook, Kitchener

As for our grandchildren, age 15 and almost 17, this is the longest we have been separated from them in their lives. Being able to talk via video chat is fantastic, but it surely doesn’t make up for the lack of hugs, and the daily visits.
Margaret Brubacher, Elmira