During the summer of 2020 we were living peacefully within the constraints of the new society, never knowing when it would be possible to visit our son in Halifax, never knowing when borders would be open or closed. The notion of borders was surreal because we live very close to a provincial border and normally cross the border to work and shop without thought. Now we had to reconsider whether we could go to the library or shop at Sobeys. We cheerfully obliged. We willingly submitted. We thoughtfully considered the health of ourselves and others during our interactions. We were polite and honest and did what we were told. Agreeable and obedient.
Time passed and we did not consider receiving the shot. We both work from home and don’t have much contact with people. We were feeling cautious because the shot is a new medical intervention and there are no long-term studies done on it. I read all I could find, just as I did regarding childhood vaccines for my children. I thought about the risks and the benefits. I read that the shot might create an overactive immune system. I thought it would be best to wait to see. I read and heard about reactions to the shot that included tinnitus, heart palpitations, blisters, rashes, paralysis, headaches, shingles, sudden strokes, numbness, damage to eyesight, nerve damage, and death. The risks were higher than any ‘vaccine’ I had ever researched. My gut told me to avoid the shot.
As someone who has always been simultaneously grateful for the successes of allopathic medicine as well as painfully aware of its limits, I remained skeptical and cautious. There are many examples of mistakes from the past, but an obvious example is thalidomide. My mom was offered this miracle drug for morning sickness and rejected it in favour of vitamin B. She was cautious and her child was kept safe. The pharmaceutical company that created thalidomide never admitted responsibility nor paid reparations.
I remember the summer of 2021 as a heavenly time. My children were together. We were still working, dreaming, the way you do. Could I produce my play? Would we be able to travel again? Where would my youngest son go to college? Where would he work? Anything was possible. As the curtains began to close, we looked about in wonder. The first warning was an article on the back page of the Irving rag, The Times and Transcript, that warned that Federal employees would be forced to be vaccinated or lose their income. We were not sure it was real. How could that be?
Our life began to close down. We had our last day in which we could go into a café. We were the same people who had been peacefully cooperating, wearing masks, and keeping a distance, and now we were suddenly the vectors of disease. Fortunately I still had my job, a small job, but a job, nonetheless. My boss said she would not make me choose between the jab and my job. I am grateful for her strength of mind, and I am grateful for work, but it is hard to be working in the theatre world when I have been banned from attending any function.
My son, who in high school was forced to sit in overcrowded classrooms with no ventilation and casual mask use, was banned from joining the extra curricular environmental group. He had entered the final year of high school in great spirits and with an excellent attitude, but due to his medical choice, he was being excluded. The school that congratulated themselves on accepting that he was gay and trans, were content to follow arbitrary rules and exclude him from a lunch time art group for not having his ‘papers’. He was being punished for not being vaccinated. And consider that for young people, especially boys, there is more of a risk from the vaccine than from the virus. Has there been any studies done with trans health and the new vaccine? Of course not.
Soon after this ban, my teen, a high honours student, dropped out of school. The hard-working school principal offered him online learning so that he would not lose the year, but my teen is becoming disaffected. He was struggling with the dreams of normalcy at the best of times, especially with universities being funded by the oil industry. But now he can no longer apply for the government funded jobs in museums and libraries that offer work experience and help a youth like him save for college. He has not applied for scholarships even though his grades and his social activism would have made him an ideal candidate. Now many universities won’t let you apply for distance education without being vaccinated. If he had any last scrap of idealism about higher learning, it may be lost.
Our lives continued to close down. I cannot access the university to research my grandmother in the library archives or listen to music in the back seats of the music department’s theatre. I loved to go to the movies in the dank, dilapidated film theatre in Sackville. Now I need papers. The art gallery. The public library. And if I may point this out, these buildings are sparsely populated. I am banned from our trains. Planes. I cannot not leave my country. And what if my daughter in California needs me?
My husbands’ employers cut him off and locked him out. During the ‘pandemic’, the office had been closed and he was working from home. Now, after twenty years, he was dismissed without a word. The union seemed powerless. Ironically, ever since he has been relieved of an income (but banned from receiving UI or working in his area) we have been out in the public more frequently, meeting people, searching for work, joining the rallies.
The restrictions are not about health. If it was about health, I would be able to show a negative COVID test and get on a train or attend a reading. My husband could still be working from home. It is about compliance. The push for vaccination, even for those with natural immunity, seems an over reach and feeds the neurosis of the right-wing theorists. Why do we need everyone to submit to this new injection?
Even those that are still clinging to the concept that the vaccines have helped reduce hospital numbers now see that vaccinated and unvaccinated are facing the same rates of infection. It is about compliance and punishment. Nurses, doctors, vaccine researchers, teachers, anyone who speaks about vaccine safety or efficacy, is closed down. We dare not hear their opinions. Our news is censored and manufactured for our own good. It is alarming. I never thought that we would face this kind of loss of freedoms from the liberal left, but I was very wrong.
Our rights and freedoms are changing before our eyes. Magazines and papers we once read speak blithely of ‘anti-vaxxers’. They mock the loss of “rights”. Will those that mock keep the quotation marks when their own rights are lost? What if their health is such that they cannot risk the third, the fourth shot? They dismiss the shifting terrain because they still feel like they are on terra firma.
The most troubling and painful part of this horrible time is the lack of empathy from family and friends. Huge rifts have been created. It is like we are living in two different worlds. There are loved ones that are so devoted to this new paradigm that they are hurt and disappointed that I have not joined the new world. They fear losing us. I fear losing them. I feel my heart breaking every day. I can feel it breaking.
I am being asked to forget who I am, everything I have believed in, my home births, my homeschooling, my homeopathy. My casual study of nutrition and alternative health care. My home as a separate and distinct entity from the State.