“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.”
I can’t think of a time where this has been more true than right now — the grim one year anniversary of COVID. I know this because of the sadness I have felt. Here’s my story:
Remembering our Little Girl
August 25, 2020
After years of expensive and gut-wrenching fertility treatments, my wife Leora and I were thrilled to learn that she was pregnant that sunny August afternoon. It was the best day-before-my-birthday present I could have ever dreamed of. We were finally going to be able to start our family.
A million thoughts raced through my mind that week. How would we reconfigure my home office to create a room for our baby? What baby supplies should I shop for on Black Friday? Would my parents be able to travel from Montreal to Oakville to be with us in May? These were exciting, albeit nerve wracking times, but we couldn’t have been more thrilled.
October 13, 2020
Just days before we were going to announce our news to our friends and family, my wife was experiencing stomach pains so we scheduled a doctor’s appointment. The doctor conducted an ultrasound and couldn’t find a fetal heartbeat, so she referred my wife to an ultrasound clinic. Later that evening, we received the news that every expecting parent dreads.
“I’m sorry, but we couldn’t detect a heartbeat. My heart aches for the two of you.”
Just like that, our baby was gone.
October 15, 2020
After spending the previous two days trying to figure out how to address our miscarriage, nature took its course that evening and my wife needed to be checked into the Emergency Room. The compassionate care from the team at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto was amazing, and my wife was discharged the following morning. She was healthy.
But our baby, our little girl, was dead.
October 17, 2020
I cried for most of that Saturday, but I didn’t fully understand why. I used to think miscarriages were just a normal part of pregnancies. Some worked, some didn’t and while they’re traumatic experiences, it’s not like I ever met the child. Why was I grieving? Why did this impact me so much?
What I realized is the minute I found out that my wife was pregnant, I created a new space for this baby in my heart, my mind and my life. I imagined what kind of father I’d be and how I would do everything I could to protect my child. To have that ripped away from me was not just heartbreaking but a sad reminder of how cruel the world could be at times.
What I also remember about that time was the kindness and empathy shown by our family and friends. We’re fortunate that this list is very long. The flowers, the desserts, the meals, the phone calls…the outpouring of love and support is something that really helped us cope. To all of you who reached out and continue to do so, I appreciate you.
December 6, 2020
I’ve always believed that grandparents are sacred. To me, my Bubby, Zaida, Nana and Papa could do no wrong and my love for all four of them will forever be unconditional.
That’s why that Sunday morning in December was so heartbreaking for me. Nana, Sybil Carsley, my last remaining living grandparent, passed away at the age of 96.
My Nana’s greatest joy in life was being around people. She was a social butterfly and the life of every party, so the fact Nana had to spend the majority of the last year of her life alone is what hurts the most.
Making matters worse is the fact that COVID prevented our family from being together and supporting each other during this difficult time. It’s a tragedy that too many families have experienced during this pandemic and my heart goes out to anyone who has lost a loved one this past year.
Remembering Auntie Nancy and Auntie Cynthia
February 28, 2021-March 9, 2021
I wish Nana’s was the only COVID funeral my wife and I had to attend, but sadly we also lost two amazing aunts during the past week-and-a-half: Auntie Nancy Budd and Auntie Cynthia Bluman.
My Auntie Nancy always put others ahead of herself. I remember when I first moved to Toronto from Montreal, she wanted to make sure I knew of all of the city’s hidden gems for food, household supplies and clothing. The difference with Auntie Nancy is she didn’t just merely send me her list of go-to spots. She took the time to take me for lunch and drive me to each place to show me exactly where to score the best deals!
Auntie Nancy’s dinner table was never too full. If she even suspected that I didn’t have somewhere to go on a holiday, she would make sure I would be at her house, along with anyone else I brought with me. She was generous. She was humble. She was kind.
My wife’s Auntie Cynthia became my Auntie Cynthia too within minutes of meeting her in 2018. Her positive energy was contagious and her smile lit up the room. I’m very grateful that I was able to spend time with her and her family in Vancouver multiple times in 2019, when I traveled there for work. Auntie Cynthia made anyone and everyone feel like part of the family.
Both Auntie Nancy and Auntie Cynthia are dearly missed. The world is better because they were part of it.
A call for kindness
The reason I’m sharing this is because there isn’t a single person who hasn’t lost something or felt something during this pandemic. There isn’t a single person who couldn’t use a phone call or a check-in to see how they’re doing. While there appears to be hope with the worldwide uptick in vaccinations, it’s important to take care of each other.
My goal is to reach out to three different people each week just to see how they’re doing.
Will you do the same?
There are times when a person can be overwhelmed with sadness and inconsolable events. We all go through them and hopefully life will change its direction to happier and hopeful times. Life can be unfair at times and hard to understand. People should be sympathetic to others as no one really knows what another person may feel.