March 13th was the day the Pandemic really started to impact me. My eldest brother was driving down from country NSW to join me in going to the Melbourne Grand Prix. We have gone to the GP since it came to Melbourne. Early that day there were rumours the GP would be cancelled, at about 10am cancellation was confirmed. I rang my brother; he was in Gundagai and he turned back home. I felt deflated, one of my annual highlights was gone and so too the opportunity to catch up over a few days with my brother. From then on, every day seemed similar, being mesmerized by the daily cases and causality count in Australia and Victoria, being told Australia is doing extremely well and Victoria is doing the best of all. However, I felt like I was back in 1950’s primary school and being told that because someone hadn’t done their homework, the whole school would be kept in until further notice. Also, mass attendance was severely restricted, there would be no tennis to play, no sport to watch, no grandkids to mind, no birthday parties, work from home if you can.
I consider that I’m a very law abiding person and will follow the rules, even if I don’t necessarily agree with them, but I felt that I was getting squeezed more and more despite following the letter of these negative “can’t do” laws. However, I had a turning point in June. It was three years since our dear daughter Josephine died. A mass was requested and the slight easing of restrictions meant we could get most of the immediate family to attend this anniversary mass together. It was a wonderful mass celebrated by Fr Chinua and I was able to send the mass video link to my interstate and Victorian relatives and friends. Afterwards, it seemed as though the CoVid cloud was suddenly lifted.
The current restrictions are the toughest we’ve had to endure so far, but I’ve found them easier to adjust to than the first round. Also, on a positive note Helen and I have found a renewed interest in exploring parks and trails in our neighbourhood as well as finding ways to support our local traders within the rules. I’m now working from home and feel much lighter and more relaxed about the Pandemic. A few years ago a friend of mine said that my unshakeable faith means I can more easily deal with tragedy. I think that the expression of that faith in Josephine’s anniversary mass and the graces that flowed from it certainly made the difference in my outlook on the Pandemic.