Surrounded by more toilet paper than I’d ever need, I stop to reflect on 2020.
Long, sanguine days. At times lonely, at times uncertain.
How shops sold-out their inventory. How we couldn’t sit in our favourite restaurant.
How we couldn’t get too close to others.
Thinking of those who we should have embraced before we found ourselves in a pandemic.
How hard it was to stay away from grandparents.
How we saw wedding plans, holidays, honeymoons postponed.
How so many lost their jobs. How quiet the neighbourhood became, how sparse and empty.
How we became more insular, more anxious, more protective.
Panic buying non-essentials – tragedy of the commons. Masking fear behind face masks.
Eventually, plans kicked-off. Relief, slow but steady. Generosity did emerge, people acted.
Some took in international students, marched for those most vulnerable, indigenous lives lost in incarceration, refugees in detention.
We connected with loved ones virtually, some from all over the world. Relieved to hear their voices when they took themselves off mute.
And then the final blow, losing a loved one overseas, when the world was in lockdown. Not being able to say goodbye, having cousins conduct the final rites, taking part in prayers via Zoom.
So, as we emerge from this a little weary, while we may endure from a distance, this song says it all…
“We shall overcome, we shall overcome, we shall overcome, someday… oh deep in my heart I do believe, we shall overcome someday…” – American singer and social activist Pete Seeger.
– Rimmika Shankar