“Just as WWII was the the defining event of our parent’s generation, the COVID 19 Pandemic we are living through right now will define ours.”

- Bill Gates

It’s a quiet war. The enemy: a small microscopic virus that in just one year has infected more than 100 million people worldwide. While not nearly on the same scale as WWII with 60 million dead and many cities left in rubble, today’s Covid 19 casualties, those who are sick and those who have died, are hardly visible to the rest of us. Unlike the Second World War when men were called to the front and women to the munitions factories we are being asked to stay home. Military Generals have been deployed to ensure Covid 19 Vaccines make their way into the arms of millions of Canadians who want one.

In 1943 my Dad served aboard the HMCS Rosthern: a Royal Canadian Navy Flower-Class Corvette during World War II. Its role was to accompany merchant ships across the Atlantic Ocean while dodging enemy submarines and torpedoes. Dad would transcribe Morse code messages from Head Quarters in Ottawa often being alerted to where the submarine Wolf Packs were waiting in hiding. Although conditions at sea were less than ideal he took up photography and processed his photos in the bathtub when they weren’t being torpedoed. Being the daughter of a military Captain we were taught things like: “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, keep your chin up and count your blessings.”

But during this Covid 19 global pandemic we aren’t ducking from bombs and there is no obvious destruction. There are no enemy lines and the virus can strike anyone anywhere. There is a lack of imagery coming from hospitals for obvious reasons.

The worst part for me is the cabin fever from not being permitted to go anywhere and the feeling of being disconnected from loved ones and friends. I am realizing the limitations of virtual connection and worry that once we all crawl into this virtual reality space, will we ever come out?

For the past year, I’ve essentially ‘battened down the hatches’ by staying close to home and exploring our new community in Richmond, Ontario. I would sometimes go out in the evening or very early morning when darkness is imminent and my feelings of isolation and disconnection would be amplified.

With the vaccine rollout underway, there is reason for hope. However, new and more contagious variants of the virus are complicating matters. For the time being, we will just have to stay the course.

As Winston Churchill once said: “It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”       

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