A world with COVID-19, Australia

COVID – Lockdown 2.0

I do not know one single person that has tested positive for COVID.

NOT ONE! That includes all my family and friends across two countries. I don’t even know someone that knows someone that has tested positive for COVID. I feel so far removed. But the morning news on replay keeps COVID front of mind. The bare shelves at the grocery store keeps COVID front of mind. The fact that nobody is allowed in my house at the moment keeps COVID front of mind.

I am hiding inside my house as if everyone around me has it. If I breathe the same air, I will die. That’s what my reality feels like right now, again.

I joke, but I do know how serious this is. I’ve listened to the devastation its causing my home country via my favourite podcasts. Entire families killed off by this coronavirus. My heart breaks and I know I am living among the lucky ones—the frustrated ones.

<img src="https://themelbournemormon.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/e147a-matt-seymour-69zvsgrejy4-unsplash.jpg?w=1024&h=769&quot; alt="<span>Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@honeypoppet?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Sandie Clarke</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/lockdown?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a&gt;
Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

Officially we are in a second lockdown, well for Melbourne anyway. Australia had 191 cases overnight a few days ago—America the overnight numbers soaring over 35,000. But 191 was too many for Australia, especially since most of those numbers came from Victoria, the state I live in and since that day numbers have risen.

Don’t get me wrong.

I support this lockdown.

I want an excuse to close the world out.

Stop letting people in.

Photo by Zohre Nemati on Unsplash

I’m an early riser.

My eyes open at 5 am, and usually, I am ready to start the day. But not today. Today I rose and went back to bed. Surprised my body let the sleep come again. I peeled myself out of bed close to 10.00 am, not like me. I had Vanilla Coke and lasagne for breakfast (don’t judge me), again, not like me. No morning walk, definitely not like me. It’s an off day. I’ve accepted it and so should you.

Nothing is normal anymore. Everyone feels it–an uncomfortableness that has spread right across the oceans.

Last week I was on a walk with a friend (when we were allowed to walk together), she took a phone call that she knew was coming. Her boss had to let her go again. Yes second time since COVID she was fired from the same establishment. She took it in her stride. She is beautiful and optimistic.

Now I am eating all the chocolate in my house. Everyone is panic buying pasta and toilet paper again. I need more chocolate.

The next six weeks we can only leave the house for the four following things…

  • To buy food.
  • Exercise.
  • Work. If you are an essential worker.
  • Taking care of the elderly.

They are pulling people over again but, this time the tickets are $1600.00 on the spot fines, not the $1,000.00 like before.

Schools are not officially closed yet, instead, they have extended the school holidays by one week. Teachers are due back next week to get organised, back to remote learning. Everyone knows it: some happy, some sad. I don’t know what I feel anymore.

My son’s sports have been so off and on that, I don’t even know what day it is.

Photo by DICSON on Unsplash

During the first outbreak, I became a statistic of COVID, back in April. I’m a number among many other people that make up numbers. I’m not ready to share just what that is yet. But it’s been my reason for keeping the covers over my head, eating too much chocolate and lasagne for having breakfast.

Be patient with me. I need to be patient with me.

So it seems COVID is here to stay. COVID is our new normal. So chin up, take a deep breath in and let’s move forward. WE GOT THIS! Or at least that’s what I tell myself and what my friends have been telling me.

One thing for sure, I have enjoyed this much slower pace of life.

A world with COVID-19

Confessions of a ‘Sad’ Serial ‘Non’-Hugger

I feel like I woke up in some strange dream that I can’t get out of. A bizarre version of Footloose, where hugs are banned, not music. A real nightmare for people who thrive on connection. It doesn’t always have to be a physical thing, there are people I am happy not to hug, but nothing beats a long warm comfy embrace from someone who truly cares about you.

Photo by Lucas Lenzi on Unsplash

Hugging just makes the world a better place and to distance yourself from, well… EVERYBODY. It’s hard on everyone but especially huggers. But I’m learning how to adapt.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am totally a cheerleader for STAYING AT HOME! I am embracing, STAYING AT HOME! I think everyone should be STAYING AT HOME if they can, where they can, when they can.

Photo by Raj Vaishnaw on Pexels

But I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, who are out there fighting this thing from the frontlines, all medical staff, grocery store workers, post office workers, pharmacies, teachers for a time and more.

Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives.

Just like the business around us who are forced to close their doors (to save lives), we too have to reinvent ourselves. Like the airline workers, they are being trained to help out in the hospitals-cleaning and changing bed linen. Or the café owner who is still in business by selling their yummy bakery goods at a table in the front of their now-closed café. Or the famous chefs, who are now selling their delicious pasta online.

So now I send my hugs and love solely via texts messages, FaceTime and phone calls. It’s a bit like everyone has moved to their own country or planet.

The worry is real.

It’s a scary, uncertain time. I tell my kids that one day they will be able to tell their kids about all of this. As we stay at home and shelter our little ones from the big bad frightening news on TV, it’s almost like it’s not real. Like the whole world is on an extended ‘staycation’. Especially if you are lucky enough to still have an income and not directly know anyone who has contracted the virus.

But each morning I watch the 6 am news headlines, while my family sleeps, just to see what world I have woken up to. The world is changing hourly. And I especially worry about my loved ones overseas. Two of my siblings are nurses and many other family members work in hospitals. They are on the frontline in a country which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases world-wide. I’ve heard their war stories. It’s not pretty.

CANCELLED

Just three weeks ago, I was out to dinner with two good friends. We caught up and had burgers in the city (such great burgers). We laughed, we hugged, we sat together as our mobiles kept dinging with new information. This was the day after the Grand Prix was cancelled. I think that’s the first time I really noticed the panic buying, the NBA cancelled the rest of their season. The Melbourne comedy festival, The Yackandandah Music Festival, Sydney Writers festival, all cancelled. Every gathering over 500 people, CANCELLED.

Just two weeks ago, there were 198,000 cases of COVID-19 in the world with less than 8,000 deaths. Today we have over 785,000 cases and 30,000 more deaths today. This thing is silent. It’s invisible and it’s shaping our future by the hour.

Just one week ago, the walking etiquette was to smile or say good morning as you pass someone on the trail. Now when I go for a walk, I cross the street or if I have to pass them, we give each other plenty of room while trying not to offend each other. And nobody was surprised when they finally postpone the XXXII Tokyo 2020 Olympics until July 2021. All you can do is smile and know that these are weird uncertain times and hopefully this will all be a thing of the past come September. Yes, September, fingers crossed.

Are you family-isolating?

Try to give each other space inside the house. Share Netflix time or leave someone home alone while the rest of you go out on your nightly walk. For those of you who celebrate Easter, decorate your house. Do Easter crafts. Make bread together. Go on bike rides and take selfies out in front of all your friends’ houses and send the photo to them later. Learn how to make pasta. Treat this time as a gift of being together.

Make cookies and drop them off at your neighbours’ house. Ring the doorbell just to make them nervous and excited all at the same time. I can’t tell you the last time my doorbell rang.

Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

Reacquaint yourself with all the little things that make you smile. Like, have a shower with your favorite playlist turned up loud. Start a gratitude journal and write 4 things that you are thankful for, watch an old movie that you love and try not to cringe when they stand so close to each other and know that someday soon we will be able to have dinners and birthday parties and gatherings again. But in the meantime, tell me what’s going on at your house? What you are doing to keep smiling during this crazy. Let me know, I need ideas…

Gregory Neil Barry

I became a widow at twenty-four

Hello from Alaska! November 2019!

Here I am in a space I’ve not been in for years. Spending time with a dear friend from my Eugene, Oregon days. Both sharing our memories of Greg and who we both were when we first met 27 years ago.

I’ve come out of my hiding place–not that I was hiding actually. I was finishing off my final year of my writing degree. A lot has happened this year. Lots of good, lots of busy, lots of writing and loads of reflecting. And sadly, I lost a brother in September. My older brother, Allan. It’s been sad for all of us and being so far away and missing his funeral was extremely hard for me. His death came at the same time major assignments were due, but I pulled through it. I found strength within…again. Thank you to all of those close to me who checked in on me and helped me navigate through a tough time. You know who you are.

I think my last post was back in April this year–sorry. It’s been way too long.

Greg

For those of you who don’t know Greg, He was my first husband. (Yes, I was married before.) We got married young, well it didn’t seem too young to us. We were twenty-one but we only had a few short years together. I lost him when we were both twenty-four.

Greg died on 18 November 1995, a day I have re-lived, thought about, questioned, obsessed over, and re-arranged the events of that day in my mind for years.

On 19 November 2019, Greg will have been dead more years than he was living.

My friend, Michele is my validation.

She was there for me after the craziness of that night. She held me, she cried with me, she played with my hair and her heart bled along with mine.

She was there with me then, and I’m here with her now.

This year, I’ve been writing a lot, working on my story, working on my book. I’ve written a lot about my childhood, and Greg. It’s now that I am 48, it’s easier to look back and see just how 18 November 1995 shaped me over the years.

I’d like to share a snippet of that writing with you now…

Our engagement photo

Saturday, 18 November 1995

Eugene, Oregon

I hate baby showers and usually try to avoid them. I’m only here out of sheer guilt. I smile, I laugh, I play a few stupid games thinking about my impending exit. As I sit on the couch, I hear my own voice say to me, ‘You’re OK without Greg’. A thought that just randomly enters my head and scares me. Why would I think that I wonder. I look at the clock with a sickening feeling, 8.30 pm. I decide an hour and a half is long enough. I say my goodbyes and make my way to my car.

I’m a nervous driver, but I haven’t always been. Last year, I was in two car accidents, neither of which were my fault. Both drivers were intoxicated.

The first drunk rear-ended me while I was stopped at a red light. I walked away from that one, but our week-old wedding gifts in the backseat were a write-off, along with the car. Six months later, a second driver hit me while I was attempting to turn at an intersection. This drunk ran a red light too. He smashed into me on the driver’s side, causing my car to spin into a telephone pole. He didn’t even attempt to stop.

People came running over to help. I recall someone saying, ‘I’ve got to pull you out. Can you see the flames?’ I did see the flames, but I couldn’t register what that meant. My response was, ‘I have a husband.’ But my brain couldn’t remember his name. I was in shock.

The next thing I remember was seeing Greg’s worried face, waking me up with kisses in the hospital. He was in shock too.

I leave the baby shower and get into the car and pull up to the corner of an empty street. I look both ways, then again and once more, before pulling out onto the road. It’s a straight shot home, an easy drive, with Greg sitting next to me in the passenger seat.

‘There you are obeying all the speed limits,’ says Greg.

‘Of course, I don’t want to get into another accident,’ I reply out loud as if he were there.

I don’t think much of it. Maybe it’s a way to deal with the fear of driving on my own, imagining him there, keeping me company.

When I pull up to our townhouse and get out, Riley is meowing at me.

‘What are you doing outside?’

He starts to purr, weaving in and out of my legs, making it hard for me to walk. I scoop him up and cuddle him as I walk up the steps to the porch. I twist the knob, but it’s locked. Lights are on inside so I ring the doorbell five times fast and knock. ‘Greg, open the door.’ I let Riley jump down feeling annoyed about having to get my keys out of my bag. I unlock the door, drop my keys back into my handbag and call out to Riley to follow me. I turn the knob and step in, but the deadbolt is locked. Now I have to search for my keys at the bottom of my bag again, and I’m irritated. I unlock the deadbolt and open the door and walk into a wall of silence. Greg was just lying there on the floor between the coffee table and TV stand.

‘Greg, why are you on the floor? Didn’t you hear me knocking?’

‘Greg, are you sleeping? What’s wrong?’

‘GREG!’

I run for the phone. It takes me three tries to dial the number.

‘9-1-1, what is your emergency?’

‘I need an ambulance quick …something’s wrong with my husband. I just came home to find him lying on the floor. He’s not moving. Please hurry!’

‘Can you please describe him?’

I run over to him and kneel. ‘He’s on his back, legs stretched out, arms near his sides. His head is turned to his right, away from me, eyes closed.’

I hear her quick typing as I rub his hand.

The 911-operator keeps talking. I’m annoyed at her questions and spit out the answers as best as I can.

‘Are they coming?’ I yell.

‘Yes, I’m dispatching an ambulance now.’

‘Thank you.’

I confirm the address.

‘Don’t hang up,’ she says. ‘I need to stay on the line with you until they arrive.’

‘Hang on, Greg. Help is on the way.’ I take his hand in mine. It’s cold, but his hands are always cold. I hold it to my chest, trying to warm it up and kiss it.

She reassures me they are on their way and asks if I want to try CPR. YES!

I know CPR, but I can’t think. She tells me what to do. I straighten his head and tilt it back. I lean over him then see a pool of blood. ‘There’s blood,’ I scream.

Then I notice something on the floor between his right leg and his right arm.

His gun.

‘Kaylynn, I need you to check the doors and windows.’ She’s now worried about my safety. I put the phone down and run around checking, but everything is locked. The clunk of the deadbolt still echoes in my head.

‘No one else is here.’ I tell her

‘Kaylynn. They are close.’

I go back to Greg and try to wake him with my kisses. ‘I love you, Greg.’ I lay my head on his chest, craving comfort and reassurance from him.

It’s just him, me and the 911-operator.

Clarity comes, I sit up taking a big gasp in, staring at my tears on his T-shirt.

What if this is it?

A calmness comes over me.

Preparing myself for the worst, I talk to her.

‘I’m going to describe him, and you tell me what you think.’

‘OK.’

‘He’s cold. His face is white, and he’s not moving.’

‘It doesn’t sound good.’ Then she says. ‘Kaylynn, they’re on your street.’

I open the front door to lights and sirens: three police cars and two ambulances. I scream, jump and wave. An officer takes the phone out of my hand as four big paramedics step onto my porch.

‘Get in there and fix him! Get in there and fix him!’ I’m screaming and crying standing outside the front door.

They come straight back out. I push the first guy back in. ‘You didn’t fix him.’ He falls into the others behind him.

‘I’m sorry, he’s gone.’

Everything goes black.

Thanks for reading…Here is a post about how Greg and I first met in high school. Let me know if you’d like to read more. xoxo Kaylynn

Me stuff

Feeling comfortable

I’ve been a chameleon all my life changing my spots according to the environment I find myself in. I know when I need to be the funny one, the happy one, the supportive one, the one that takes the lead and the one that lets others lead. I have changed my stripes so many times that sometimes I even don’t know who the real Kaylynn is.

I have listened to the world tell me who I should be, I have listened to others and their opinions of me but when I sit with myself I can feel what direction my heart lies.

Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash

What do I want?

-I want to be in the presence of beautiful things.

-I want to be touched enough to bring me to tears.

-I want my heart to race so much that I need to gasp for air.

-I want to be a part of making this world a better place.

-I want to be involved with my community and volunteer my time and efforts for things that make a difference.

-I want to love my Heavenly Father without judgment.

-I want to laugh.

-And most of all, I need to feel.

-I need to live in a world where truths are shared, where hearts are touched and deep changes are made to the soul.

I am done altering who I am for the sake of making others feel more comfortable.

The insanity stops now.

I don’t mean that to be harsh or seem that I am set in my ways without compromise. It just means that I finally know the person I was meant to be. It’s only taken almost 48 years to find her.

I laugh, I love and I live an honest life doing what makes me happy, saying what I know, sharing my truths. If I get hurt, I will act hurt instead of pushing it down and moving on. I will sit with the hurt and find a way for it to be fixed…if I can. If I hurt another, I will make amends. I will be the friend that has the courage to say what’s real. I hope I can say it with a whole lot of love and a big handful of friendship. I only want to surround myself with authenticity.

Why do we walk around thinking things about others and then avoiding them instead of sharing our insights to help that person become a better friend? Or worse engaging in conversations with others about those negative thoughts? Avoid gossip, it’s not good. Why not tell them how you feel? PERSON UP!

I am done sacrificing my muchness. I want my light to shine. My light is only ignited by how I feel on the inside. My outside is the megaphone for what’s happing inside. I want to live a life free of chains. Free of ‘have to’s’ and only full of ‘want to’s’. I am shedding the guilt and shame that have ruled my life. Most of it has not even been my guilt or shame, things others have placed on me. I am cutting out the cancers of my life. Toxins that have never brought me happiness. Why hold onto those things? Because of guilt? Pride?

GET RID OF IT. ALL OF IT.

Lighten your load.

PUT IT DOWN.

Learn to forgive.

Forgiveness is never for the other person. It’s for you, a tool from God to help us move past the anger, hurt or resentment that is holding you back.

Photo by niu niu on Unsplash

STOP HOLDING YOURSELF BACK!

The only one who knows what you’re holding onto is you and if you don’t know what it is, then may I suggest you do some soul searching of your own.


Feature photo above by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

Growing pains, Motherhood

My baby is leaving me

This is a true story, she really is leaving. Today is the day when we drive almost five hours away, spend one last night together as a complete family in an Airbnb, then drop her off and (here’s the worst part) drive away.

How will I drive away? Well W will be driving because I’ve never been good at driving with blurry eyes.

As I type this impromptu blog post, my heart is crumbling.

My mothering-heart has two beats, her and him. My little man’s heart is breaking too. Tears last night about wanting to hang out with her and her friends…her last hang out, her last ‘playdate’ I explained to him. “But she never plays Mario Kart with me, mom’.

Our first daffodil of the season – I miss them being this small

W is being strong but I know he’ll have his moments, not so public possibly.

Alpine Leadership School is the reason, an amazing opportunity. I am so proud of her. I am so proud of the adult she growing into. She’s funny, she’s clever and smart. She is so much smarter than I ever was at her age. That she gets from her daddy.

We get to pick her up on my birthday and bring her home…best present ever! But that’s nine weeks from now, but who’s counting?

She’s walking around our cold morning house in a blanket, singing, as she downloads the last few final songs she can’t live without. She’s happy. I’m happy. Music is the air in her lungs too.

She can’t take her phone. This is a great thing because when you live in your 14-year-old bubble, your phone becomes the only thing you see. Tunnel vision. Her heart is bigger than her phone, a meme, a gif. But sometimes she can’t see beyond her anime obsession.

Because she also loves her books, I don’t beat myself up as her parent. She has almost a whole suitcase packed of books. I lost count while helping her pack–this she gets from her mama.

We will be pen pals. She will learn to put pen to paper. 4 pm is when the post is delivered at the school. 4 pm will be a happy time for her as I will write her often, for me.

So if you see me around without my usual smile, give me a hug, I’ll need it.

Feature Photo by Gabriela Braga on Unsplash