And That’s How Two Years Go By

October 1, 2021

The Carmichaels on the shores of the Mediterranean. The pill bottle next to my sandals contained some of my mom’s ashes, which we released into the sea. Photo by my wonderful stepmom, author Jackie Carmichael.

Two years ago today, I submitted the first draft of my forthcoming children’s book.* I was burned out and already coughing from what would turn out to be a raging case of stress-induced bacterial bronchitis. And I was getting on a plane.

Grandma Hermanson had passed and left the Carmichael branch of the family some unexpected money. We, my brother, my dad, and my not-so-evil-stepmother decided that the best way to honour her memory was to use the money to get together, so we left three provinces and met in Barcelona. Two weeks later, we left Barcelona during a riot.**

Grandma Hermanson, the last time she saw her Canadian grandkids. That’s my brother on the right.

A month after that, we were on a plane again, because Tech Support’s father was getting remarried.

In January, Tech Support attended a work meeting in the USA. While there, he caught was we assumed was a horrible case of food poisoning, but also kind of looked like a wicked, devastating flu? COVID was something very few people in North America had heard of, and no one believed had anything to do with us.


And that is how two years goes by, somehow taking both a century and no time at all.

I still miss my Grandma desperately, but I am so grateful that she left us before COVID and never had to experience the loneliness and terror of lockdowns in a long-term-care facility. I miss my brother and father and not-so-evil stepmother desperately, too, because see above re: three provinces. And Grandpa Carmichael, who passed this January, and unfortunately did have to experience the loneliness and terror of hospitals during COVID. Shout out to his daughter, my Aunt, who moved mountains to ease his passing when there were no vaccines and it was too dangerous for the rest of us to travel to his bedside.

Grandpa Carmichael’s last Christmas.

And now there are vaccines. And my deepest fear is that, because people are refusing to get them, two more years are going to slip right by, taking loved ones and opportunities with them. The tragedy is not the loss – the tragedy is that so much of the loss is preventable. 


* Forthcoming in 2023. But I promise, it will be worth the wait!

** No, cheeky monkeys, we neither started it nor participated… unless you count getting trapped on a blockaded highway or sneaking past the barricades at the airport.

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