COVID life,  family

My sister is flying solo because her family is separated by COVID-19

What happens when life is happening and then COVID-19 decides to hijack everything?

I think that’s a question we’re all trying to figure out. And we all have different pictures, different versions, of what “life” looks like. Teachers are scrambling to figure out how to adjust curriculum and adapt them to brand new formats. Parents are trying to figure out how to work from home and help facilitate their kids “home school” electronically (luckily, most of us Fargo parents have a little more time before we have to figure that out). Families are trying to figure out how to make sure their kids are being taken care of while they have to continue working essential services for the community (from healthcare to the grocery store).

And some families are trying to figure out the new normal while their family is separated in two different countries.

That’s my sister’s new reality because life still happens with COVID-19. My sister and her husband live in Saudi Arabia. Sadly, at the beginning of March, her mother-in-law became terminally ill and her husband flew back to Canada to spend time with his mother. While in Canada with his mother, the world started to shut down rapidly because of COVID-19 and not only did he have to shorten his stay with his mother (knowing that she will end up passing away before he can say good-bye) but in the midst of trying to fly back to my sister in Saudi Arabia, governments started shutting down airspace.

From my sister’s Instagram: “With the announcement of the USA shutting down flights from EU, they [her husband and sister-in-law who also live in Saudi] decided they needed to get back to this part of the world. While they were in flight, the country we are living in announced that in 24hrs they were locking down all international travel for two weeks. They still would have been in that time frame, so we were feeling grateful. Sadly, while taking their last leg from London, they were informed that the country we live in had just shut down their airspace. [They] are now trapped in Bahrain for who knows how long. It is kind of a mess….The upside is we are now in the same time zone and he is only a 45 mins drive away— just a quick drive on the causeway (too bad all the land borders have been shut down for a week already). 🙏🏻 that the airspace shut down is really only two weeks… 😔😬 The kids are now doing school virtually, and we are watching things slowly shut down. The Govt just announced the shut down of malls and restaurants. As inconvenient as this is, I am impressed at how responsive, seriously and quickly they are responding to this pandemic.”

So my sister and her kids are in Saudi Arabia, my brother-in-law is in a neighbouring country 45 min away, and they won’t be reunited for the foreseeable future.

That’s the hardest part of the COVID-19 crisis. Life was happening and then this virus just came out of nowhere, quickly. And we’re all trying to find the new normal, sometimes in some very non-ideal circumstances.

My sister had been single momming it for two weeks before the mad scramble to bring her husband home. And now she’ll be single momming it for the foreseeable future. And let’s face it. Kids are hard, no matter their personalities, no matter how many you have, no matter what else is going on.

I Marco Polo my sister every day (Facetime doesn’t work so well with our time zone distances) She’s a rock star. It’s not perfect. It’s not always pretty. But she’s making it work, and adjusting to the daily changes (the new change today being curfews). But she keeps doing her best. She (like all of us) are trying to figure out the new normal.

From my sister’s Instagram a few days ago: “This afternoon we did circuits and runs in between for 30 mins and then a slow jog around our block. I think this is something we will be doing everyday. Some of my kids just need to burn that energy. Some loved it more than others 😂 I’m sure you can tell from the photo. It’s starting to get hot in the sandbox. We also did music lessons today and will be watching “Hugo” tonight as we have finished the book last night. Trying to accept the circumstances as they are. It makes life feel a little more manageable. Slowly getting into a routine.”

Hang in there everyone. I think most of us want to adjust to this new normal swiftly, without any glitches or mistakes, and have that perfect routine now. But as I think a lot of us are realizing, COVID-19 happened to us in “real life” while we were already dealing with challenges. When we already were struggling to have our life together. While we were trying new things or trying to say good-bye to old things. We were already struggling to figure out those daily life challenges. Now we have a COVID-19. It’s going to take some time to figure that all out. And that’s okay.

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