It truly is a small world…. and we are currently finding out just how small. The current health issue, COVID-19, has raised awareness all around the world of how things can change with short or no notice.

The family members of Threads of Life all have personal experience with this sudden shift. Imagine that you arrive in emergency, after being pinned by a large piece of equipment. You are very unsure of what will happen next. You are assessed, and the doctor then tries to tell you that unfortunately there is so much damage to your arm that it will have to be amputated. You wonder how you will go on. How will you manage to do the things you have done before. How are you going to give a hug to those you love? How will you undo a can or jar? How will you go back to work or play hockey again? Your family has their own questions and struggles.

It’s much the same for the worker who develops difficulty doing the same thing he has always done because he is finding it difficult to catch his breath. The doctor does a lot of testing and shares with you that at some point in your live you were exposed to asbestos, and that you now have a lung disease known as asbestosis.

It’s the widow who falls on the floor in front of the officer who comes to tell her and her family that her husband isn’t coming home, that he died at work. Our family experienced this same reaction with one phone call. One call that changed our lives forever. There has been an explosion at the arena and Tim is on his way to the hospital. The messages were fast and things changed from minute to minute as we spent days waiting and hoping that he would recover. These are the same scenes that are repeated daily across Canada, as workers and their family lives are forever changed.

Through those days, we all learned one thing. To try to take a moment at a time, then a day at a time, then we could look further. If we take the same approach with this current health concern that is circling the world, we will all be calmer. The awareness on our personal health that this issue has raised, how we protect ourselves – simple everyday things – like washing our hands better and more often, eating well, getting extra rest, staying rehydrated and covering our mouth when we cough or sneeze, with a tissue or into our elbow, or staying home when we aren’t feeling well. None of these messages are new, but it is as if we are hearing them for the first time. The idea of keeping our distance from others feels awkward, but we understand the necessity.

When you hear messages that start to overwhelm you, take pause. I created a mantra ‘keep the calm’ and remind myself and my staff and family often. If we remain calm and think each thing through, there is opportunity to learn and grow from this experience.

Just think for a moment, if we all remembered the self-care things and practice the self-clean personal care, we will end up with less virus and cold transmissions in the future. We have the power to make a change for the better.

The family members of Threads of Life have found the way to live in the moment, then the day, then look ahead for the future. We never forget the past and will always grieve what is lost.

Times like these give us reason to be kinder and gentler people to ensure that not only do we care for ourselves, but we care for others. Walk into a store, say hello (from a distance) to someone and give a smile. Be sure to say thank you to the teller. Help your neighbour who may need a helping hand. Phone a friend; text or email your distant family for a check-in. Go for a walk – around the block or into a forest area or watch a happy or sad movie. Perhaps you too will find a song in your head, such as I found this morning – singing ‘It’s a small, small world, It’s a world of laughter, A world of tears, A world of hope and a world of fears, there’s so much that we share, That it’s time we’re aware, It’s a small world after all.’

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels

Threads of Life values the health and safety of our families, volunteers, participants and staff and will be monitoring the guidelines of Health Canada while making decisions regarding events such as Steps for Life and Family Forums. We’ll provide regular updates at threadsoflife.ca/covid-19.

Shirley Hickman

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