The third wave of the pandemic is hitting us hard.
It is frightening.
It is especially frightening if someone you hold near and dear to your heart receives the dreaded ‘positive’ message after being tested.
Sadly, this much I know to be true.
It has happened to me.
And, in less than a heartbeat the number of cases that are sweeping Alberta become much more than just numbers.
They become all too real.
Fortunately, the virus has been kind in this particular case.
What am I saying? Viruses are never kind.
What I mean is it could have been so much worse, and this beloved member of my family tree appears to be on the road to recovery.
And my heart is much lighter because of it.
But, still as the night opens its windows to let in the light of a new day, I awake with apprehension in my heart, and I murmur a humble prayer that is not about being grateful or strong or anything to do with my higher self.
It is simply a prayer of pleading.
“Please, please, please keep him safe.”
And then I stumble out to the kitchen and turn the coffee maker on and watch the glorious flicker of fire light up the eastern sky. And so it begins.
During this third wave of the pandemic, I have found I have gained a certain amount of strength and comfort by delving into historical fiction books. While the stories weaved within the pages of these books are fictitious, they are filled with historical facts that never fail to astound me.
Many of the stories I read are about women who were young, just as the 21st century was young.
They had a lot to deal with, these young women.
First and foremost, they had to get out of the kitchen which seemed to be highly discouraged. The words ‘women’ and ‘career’ were kind of like oil and water in those days. Women could not even vote, for goodness sake.
In the face of the pandemic we are facing today, I have been drawn to stories of the deadly virus that swept the world in 1918 and how young doctors and nurses struggled to maintain some semblance of health care while watching helplessly as millions of people died.
And as always, I am reminded of the faces of courage and resiliency that lived during those days when communication devices such as what we have today did not exist even in a fantasy world.
And once again I feel grateful for Zoom and Facetime and all those other ways we have of keeping loved ones close, but safe.
I know I should probably feel more grateful than I do, but, oh, sometimes I just long for a simple hug.
“You know what I mean?”
Despite all our wonderful technology it is pretty darn hard to feel the comfort of loving arms wrapped around you in a hug so tight it squeezes the wind right out of you when you are seeing that person on Zoom.
The other day when I went on my daily walk, I spied a rock that someone had painted with the words, “2021 Stay Safe.” The simple words and the mysterious rock gave me comfort and made me smile.
And so, I pass those words onto all my readers.
Treena Mielke is a central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.