Opinion: Focusing on the positive sustains us during these unprecedented times

I have never been more proud to be a Canadian, more proud to be a British Columbian and more proud to live in Delta. We are rising to the occasion, going to the mattresses and showing what we are made of.

Through this crisis the positives are everywhere. Our prime minister is leading the country with compassion and calm. His team of ministers and public health officers are tirelessly working on new ways to get COVID-19 under control and guide us through an economic nightmare.

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Provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix has been a rock. Together with his team, he has rolled out comprehensive supports such as the expansion of the 211 helpline, which matches seniors in need with volunteers who want to help seniors in isolation.

His ministry has implemented a compassionate program to support drug addicts as overdoses are expected to rise. They will be given rapid access to prescription opioids to keep them safe.

Our mayor and council, our health care workers and our first responders are all brave and going beyond the call of duty. We are fortunate to have them.

Meanwhile, going to the grocery store, something I admit I used to do too often, feels like a marathon. Disinfecting wipes in hand, I keep my social distance while scanning empty shelves and wondering what to buy. The look of fear on some customers’ faces is so disheartening, yet our grocery clerks bravely continue to serve us.

In my block there are five seniors living alone. We are checking on each other, sharing food, helping with emergencies, buying groceries and offering moral support. I am worried about them as they cannot see their families or venture far from home.

I’m not sleeping well, waking up to this new reality sometimes a few times a night. My daughter is a nurse working at a virus testing centre, while my son is a social worker doling out food for the misfortunate. My aging parents are worried and my husband’s small business is changing.

I worry whether my loved ones will get sick, when we’ll be allowed to return to normal, how the economy will affect us all and if the virus could return. The opposite of fear is hope, so I remain hopeful that we come out of this as unscathed as possible.

I marvel at how the world has changed overnight, how we all have something in common and how that redefines borders. I feel compassion for the lives lost near and far away.

For now, stay home, donate blood, support your local food bank and check on your neighbours. Grab a pot and a spoon at 7 p.m. each night and let our health care workers know how thankful we are for their hard work. Shout it out loud and proud.

Finally, some wise words from our impressive provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry: “Be kind, stay home, stay connected and remember we are all in this together.”

Ingrid Abbott is a freelance writer and broadcaster who is warning her hairdresser, esthetician and massage therapist she’s coming to see them when this pandemic is over and it won’t be pretty.

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