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Lockdown has been a strange time. I am happy we are all together – my husband is able to work from home and our teen is doing his university courses remotely while we hunker down with our cat and dog.  The past month or so our focus was on finding ways to better help each other through it and try to think of things we could do to actively help out.

The first was staying home; that was easiest, we thought, and would help with flattening the curve here in British Columbia in Canada. We brought our 3d printer back into action and began to print strips that can be used by health providers to give their medical masks a better and more comfortable fit. We didn’t create the pattern, its available here for free: https://bit.ly/SurgicalMaskStrapRemix.

But we could print it and get it into the hands of people that needed it. We’ve so far printed about 50 and given them to friends who work in a hospital and a carehome to share with their coworkers.  Then I brought out my quilting fabrics, long sitting unused in their bins, and began creating fabric masks and sending out to friends, acquaintances and people that needed them.  It felt strangely soothing to remember where and why I got each fabric, to picture it helping another person. The more people that wear them the less we’ll spread this beast around.

We planted seeds… tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, zucchini squash. Started growing leftover bits ( like green onions) on the windowsill. My grandmother lived through World War II and I understand now why she was so resourceful and found a use for everything; I am thankful for those lessons now, even if I didn’t understand them then.

Sometimes the grief of the world overwhelms. You read the stories of health professionals that share the pain, the loss, the unimaginable moments so many people are going through. There is that breathless fear that this one feeling is what sticks around, what waits for us. So many conversations had with our teen about the world as it is now, and the world that we can’t even imagine once the dust has settled.

Hope is a choice.

Hope will always be a choice, and for me one made pragmatically I suppose — made for the purpose of survival of the soul as much as of the body. I can’t live in fear; I lived with it a long while waiting for the cancer to come back, finish me off. I actively put my life on hold a while because I was afraid to dream, to hope, to fight for things that may not come to be.

But they did. I saw Aiden graduate, and I’ve seen them grow into a fine young human. I finished my trilogy and have gotten back to art, have celebrated anniversaries and had adventures out in the wild world with my husband and child.

Right now I am holding on to that hope, and chasing the dreams I was always too afraid to.

Right now I am focusing on the handful of things I -can- control, in a world that spirals.

I can spend time with my family, and grow green things.

I can share my favorite music and awful/wonderful 80s movies with them.

I can do my part, however small, to feel like I am helping stem the tide: Staying home, making masks, 3d printing strips, creating art.

I was asked often when I was diagnosed how I stayed strong, and my response didn’t change: I wasn’t aware there was another choice.

There are definitely times I want to fall apart, as I’m sure many of us feel. Sometimes a news article, a friends post, a song bring me to tears. I have to remind myself that its okay to feel all of those things, and that as forgiving and gentle I am trying to be with our teen I need to be that for my own feelings too.

There will be days, and there will be days, but I am choosing hope because its the one thing that propels me forward. Onwards!




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You can find Apis’ book, Bellybuttonless, in our shop