Today is the final day of April and I’ve been working remotely since March 30. It’s been, well, interesting. When Barbados moved to Stage 3 of the National Response Plan I was honestly, terrified. Deeply concerned about the unknown future and unfortunately consuming a steady diet of Coronavirus news from all over the world. Since then, I lost one family member to Covid-19 and received news of other relatives and family friends who became ill with the disease, some succumbing to it. At least, good news this week, a younger family member who contracted the virus is now recovering well.
In between work, I tried to focus on other things to take my mind off of a world that at times, felt like it was on fire, with marginal success. Other times, I lay on the sofa or in bed feeling shell-shocked. I gather based on discussions with friends, that these feelings were normal, especially as many of us have friends and family who live all over the world, some in hotspots like New York, the UK and Italy and wanted to protect them at all costs. Of course, we in Barbados had our own problems with an explosion of cases and some deaths, one up to yesterday.
What the last few weeks showed me, apart from the fact that my television is going to be happy to be able to rest when I go back to work, is how intertwined our lives are and how much we rely on each other for support and sustenance. I also realised that with a sudden change of circumstance, the best-laid plans have no choice but to change. I was so excited earlier this year about the vacation I was supposed to be on right now. Out of the country, relaxing with my big sister and her family, shopping, slipping into New York City and slipping out but alas, I’m on my sofa listening to a dog bark.
In a few days, Barbados will attempt, slowly, to re-open for business and that is local business only. We will be tourist-less for a while, something I never thought I would experience in my lifetime. A year without Crop Over, NIFCA, flying kites at Easter, travel, the simple pleasure of going to the beach whenever you want, eating at a restaurant, liming with friends, shopping in the supermarket without restrictions. I look forward to the day, whenever that may be, where we can talk about Covid-19 in the past-tense.
For now, wearing a mask is killing me, I feel claustrophobic, my glasses fog up. My hands are dry and peeling from excessive washing, I’m afraid to go back into the office, to interact with others. I think about my friends with children and how they will navigate work and home-schooling. Meanwhile, people are still dying, the US President’s recent comments resulted in people actually ingesting bleach and other household disinfectants, the world has gone bonkers. On top of it all, I miss my family and friends, I worry about them.
What will the rest of the year look like? Who knows. We can only wait and see. I think that by now, we should be prepared for pretty much anything.