COVID-19 Staff Stories

Tanya Belisle

On Monday, March 16th, Delvinia started working from home. The first few days were a blur as we all settled in, but by the end of the week, I was settling into a new routine. While the news reports were overwhelming, I felt like I was in a good place, professionally. Personally, was another matter.

My grandma had been in the hospital for 5 months leading up to the hospital lockdown, followed by the provincial lockdown. Knowing she was alone in the hospital, with no one allowed to visit, created a horrible feeling of helplessness. Monday, March 23rd came the call I had been dreading. The hospital was placing us on the allowed visitors list so we could come and say goodbye. That day was one of the hardest of my life. While you think you’re prepared, you’re not. Not fully. To compound our grief was the stress of planning a funeral in the midst of a pandemic. Chaotic would be putting it mildly.

Through all of this, I cannot express how much the support of my team, colleagues and the executive team at Delvinia meant to me. It was an immense relief, knowing I could shut off and focus on my family for a few days.  I trusted the projects and the clients would be well taken care of, since we have spent a good deal of time ensuring the teams are flexible and can handle the unexpected. I never once felt like I was alone during this time.

It’s been almost two months now, and my emotions have gone through a wide range. There was sadness that she was gone. Guilt that she may not have understood why we couldn’t come once the hospital was in lockdown, wondering if that played a part in her decline. Guilt and anger that we couldn’t give her the send-off that we wanted. That she would have wanted. Gratitude that I got as many years with her as I did, and we could say goodbye that last day. I’m still struggling with anxiety: is everyone safe, is my parents’ business going to survive this, how am I going to handle getting onto the GO train when restrictions are lifted? It’s my nature to worry and I’ve come to accept that and that I don’t need to conform to others’ schedules on when it’s time to move on.

I’ve thought long and hard about sharing my story since it’s still so raw. I know I’m not alone in losing a loved one during this period and my heart goes out to all those people. If there is anything I’ve taken away from this, it’s to value the time you have with your loved ones, as circumstances can change so quickly. My grandma drove me absolutely up the wall with some of the things she said and did, but now that she’s gone, I miss them more than anything.

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