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LEIGHA GRAF PHOTOGRAPHY

In our little province, on this big ol’ planet, Covid19 cases started to see a significant spike in the first two weeks of November. That rise saw two of our sweet team members test positive, which meant big changes in a short amount of time for our team, and my personal family. Worries for health and emotional well-being were immediate, and disappointment, frustration and shame followed.

Since the initial close contact with a positive case, 4 of 5 of my personal family tested positive (myself included) I spent 31 days in quarantine, we have all fully recovered, and I have never been more grateful for the support of our community, and confident that we were never meant to do this alone.

What happened

On November 3, 2020, four of our team members met at the office for a regular weekly meeting. The following day one of our team members was informed that they were exposed to the virus and were going to get tested. After confirming their positive test result, our remaining team members also got tested, and immediately began a mandatory 14 day quarantine due to being in close contact with a positive case.

Initially, we tested negative four days after exposure however, following Alberta Health Services protocols, we remained in isolation. On day 11 of our quarantine my personal husband, Aaron, began showing symptoms and tested positive the following day. He isolated away from myself and our three children in hopes that we would remain negative. In the week following, my two youngest children began showing symptoms and tested positive, and on November 30, I received a positive test result. Our family remained in quarantine for 31 days, and somehow by the grace of God, our marriage is still intact, and there was no throat punching.

Our experience

Oh, the emotions. Covid is a rollercoaster of a journey, and you need to be prepared to ride the highs and lows. Worry for the health and safety of our team members, and family, was first and foremost, followed quickly by fear, guilt, and shame which, turns out, comes with having to tell people you inadvertently may have put them at risk. 

Sunday Live with Aaron

Our symptoms varied but, thankfully, were all relatively mild. Covid fog is real—I have never felt so dumb or slept so hard. I was achy and exhausted, couldn’t get out of bed, didn’t care what my kids were doing, and I couldn’t articulate worth shit. It is a long haul, that seems to come in waves, with every day presenting new challenges. 

We have never felt more loved and supported. Our community showed up for us every single day of our quarantine, and we couldn’t have done it without them. We had grocery deliveries, home-cooked meals dropped on our doorstep, coffees, treats, medicine, flowers and cards. Every single act of kindness overwhelmed us with gratitude and helped us recover. 

What we learned

This virus is no joke. Let me also be clear that my medical expertise comes from multiple seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, and a newly-sparked intimate relationship with the 811 healthlink professionals. Alberta Health Services is an incredible resource with a wealth of information, and their frontline heroes are phenomenal.

You must quarantine for 14 days if you have been in close contact with a positive case, regardless of your test result. To avoid the risk of a false positive test result, it may make more sense to get tested a few days into your 14 day quarantine, instead of immediately following a close contact. 

The mental and emotional toll that comes with contracting this virus is just as bad, if not worse, than the physical. There is an astounding amount of shame, guilt and fear associated with contracting Covid, and we need to be talking about it more. 

Takeaways

When you are surrounded by good people, you will be surprised by their grace and kindness, and you will rise. I would have very likely fallen apart on day three if it weren’t for this community holding us up. The love and support we were shown reinforces what I already know: We were never meant to do this alone, and I have never been more confident that we are #bravertogether. 

You don’t want this. Wear a mask, and stay home. Check in on your community. Lean in and support whenever and wherever you can. Learn from each other. We are fighting a virus, not each other, and kindness will always be more contagious. 

In Alberta, and in many spots across this globe, we are facing new restrictions. This will mean so many different things to so many different people. Feel it all – mad, sad, the unfairness of it all. The weight of navigating this for most of us feels so heavy now. I can see it and feel it. 

I know this: we are wired for it, and we can do hard things so much easier if we stay connected. Although this virus is doing it’s everbest to disconnect us, what it cannot screw with is kindness or compassion.