It’s been a while. I regret not visiting you in this space more often… as all of you are keenly aware, life was swept away with Covid-19 infecting every space possible. For me this meant hunkering down at home with Charlie and spending way more time with my family over FaceTime than I thought was possible and keeping distance, especially with Ian’s work being as frontline and essential as it is. It meant being alone – a lot. It meant feeling more isolated than usual, feeling more overwhelmed, and feeling more unrest. I know I am not alone.
My life these days involves a lot of wiping, a lot of mouth checking as baby teeth come in, a lot of responding to dadadadada and constant babble, a lot of changing and quickly growing baby. Today as I was walking with Charlotte quickly around the block (as I often do to keep my sanity) I was brought back into Parkdale as I received a call from Erinn that our friend John had passed away.
John was a beloved member of The Dale. He was a fixture in Parkdale, often seen with many dogs and a bike. His dreads reached the floor which was quite a feat considering how tall he was. And his smile was large and bright. I will miss John, truly. He was often the last face I saw as I walked out of Parkdale to my bus. I was surprised to hear of John’s sudden passing but honestly it quickly left my mind in the heat of the day and in the ever hectic routine our nights have become. It wasn’t until I sat down after Charlie was asleep and read Erinn’s blog about John that I was reminded that my friend was gone and many memories came flooding back to me. As someone commented on Erinn’s blog about John, “Parkdale is less now.” It is true, I think.
My heart has become heavy this night. Memories of John come and go, and with it come memories of Parkdale, The Dale, and life before Covid and Charlotte. My mind is full of Queen Street reaching from Dufferin to Roncesvalles. I think of our friends along the way and I feel like I am there, walking for hours up and down. I remember walking by Coffee Time and waving to Sandra* in the window. She calls us her Padre-ess’s…and Pete! I remember seeing John outside the Health Centre and his ornament tree. I remember finding Cindy* in the hot summer heat and walking her home, her arm linked with Joanna’s, me walking backward and laughing in the breeze. I think of Matt* playing guitar outside the LCBO… you can hear him talking from two blocks down. They are all there, and I know they remain in their own way although much has changed. People like John are now gone, no goodbye to be said. Businesses such as the Coffee Time have closed. We can no longer walk arm in arm.
I wonder what my return to The Dale will look like in October. Will we still be greeting our friends and community outside, unable to gather together and eat around a table? What will Coffee Time become? Will I look for John at the health centre on my way home, hoping for a final wave at the end of the day? Tears fill my eyes. These are things I cannot think of now. I know by the time that I am there my baby Charlotte will be nearing One. My, how time flies…
Thanks for sitting with my in my thoughts this evening. Thanks for your patience as I try to enter this space more and again.
As always, may you find peace tonight.