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The World’s Second Easter in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Silhouetted crosses are stark against a dark red cloudy sunset sky.

It is hard to believe that we have just celebrated another Easter in a pandemic.  The feeling of it is surreal. It is like a cruel April Fool’s Joke — a prank gone wrong, where we all suddenly wake up to find a pandemic-free world.

Instead, here in my area of Weymouth, Digby County, I  awoke to the devastating and sad news of a boat capsizing on a lake with three men on board.  It ended with two of the three men not making it to shore. The incident happened on April 2nd, Good Friday. On April 3rd, a fishing boat capsizes off the coast of Cape Breton with one crew member dead and another unable to be located.  These two incidents, happening within days of each other on an Easter Weekend, are tragic and devastating for all involved. For the family, friends and the communities as a whole. And to suffer through all of this in the middle of a pandemic.. it is overwhelming and mentally debilitating. 

I have almost forgotten what it is like to celebrate a holiday.  The anticipation one gets – even as an adult, of an approaching holiday.   Holidays are for socializing and gathering with family and friends.  Holidays have become a source of worry with a hint of dread.   Why?  Well, gatherings have become taboo. It is especially the case for our front-line health care workers.  It must be like a double-edged sword. “Holidays” were meant to bring joy and celebration, but this is the reverse for our front-line workers in the health care system. They know without a doubt with the onslaught of a holiday weekend, what comes with it: lots of shopping and social gatherings.  It is a formula for “super spreaders,” which causes an influx of people admitted to hospital with COVID-19, in turn, burdening the system.

I feel for our front-line health care workers when I read and listen to their stories, pleading with Canadians to abide by the pandemic rules and protocols. The toll it is taking on our workers is significant. The reason why most got into the healthcare profession is to help people.  But many are rethinking their professions, which is such a loss—the collateral damage of something bigger than us. 

We are all in a state of limbo and all grasping for something familiar and safe.  I feel a little numb. Easter came and went without the usual formalities. I am on autopilot, with short bursts of normalcy. I take it day by day. I  look for things to concentrate on, to take my mind off the world for at least a few hours. I do things that I enjoy, where I become engrossed.  It helps keep my mental health in a good place.  

Holiday celebrations are forever changed. It is so strange that we are stressed out by holidays instead of being excited and looking forward to them. The world will one day return to some normal, but it will be a completely different normal than what we know.  For now, we are all attempting to find our new “normal”… whatever that is.


Easter Gatherings and Health Care:
‘Vaccinations won’t be enough’: Sask. chief medical officers urge residents to stay put Easter weekend | CBC News

Boating Accident in Digby County:
2 men dead after boat overturns on remote Digby County lake | CBC News

Fishing Boat Capsizes off of Cape Breton:
1 dead, another presumed dead after fishing boat capsizes off Cape Breton coast | CBC News

Burnout of Front line Health Care Workers
Doctors call for systemic change to tackle burnout among health-care workers | CBC Radio

Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line and Kids Help Phone:
Find Support — Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia (mentalhealthns.ca)

Image by Raheel Shakeel from Pixabay

Shawnalynn Cromwell is a community ambassador with Inspiring Communities’ nested initiative Turning the Tide in Digby. Shawnalynn is a writer, changemaker and active community member in Weymouth Falls. 

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