From a Distance
“From a distance there is harmony
And it echoes through the land
It’s the voice of hope
It’s the voice of peace
It’s the voice of every man.”
~From a Distance, lyrics by Julie Bell, recorded by Bette Midler
July 1st was both Canada Day and my mother’s 90th birthday. The family gathered on Zoom to honor that milestone for over an hour.
At the beginning, I was positively giddy to see and hear them all, siblings, nieces, nephews and grandchildren; by the end, I could barely stifle my tears.
Which caused me to consider the words I heard myself utter:“I’m dying to see you.”
It’s a common phrase, though, I suspect, rarely accurate.
These days, especially with older folks, it’s becoming more so.
I miss my family, as millions of others do.
Here in Ontario families are beginning to reunite. Not so much in the United States where my extended family lives.
As a US citizen and also a Permanent Resident of Canada, I am able to enter the U.S. and I am able to get back into Canada.
But only if I fly.
I could fly down, quarantine, then fly back and quarantine once back in Toronto. I could see my sons and grandchildren.
But when I look at the rising Covid numbers south of the border—with a cold, data-driven eye—I ask myself: “Am I willing to die to see them?”
Am I willing to risk public transport, airport lines and crowded flights in order to assuage the growing heartache of separation?
And so… my sadness. Because the answer is, “No.”
I may be yearning to see and touch my family, but I’m not dying to see them.
Not yet, anyway.
I’ve decided to play a longer-term game.
Wait for more data and treat this time as a reason to practice patience.
And loving harder.
From a distance.