COVID Crisis, Oceans Apart

COVID Crisis, Oceans Apart

It’s not every birthday that a life dream comes true, but on February 6, 2019 my daughter, Elaine, got hers. Turning 26 was topped by an acceptance email from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, to obtain her master’s degree in art history. We were over the moon for her. Thirteen months later, we would live online, desperately watching from another continent as she fought a disease named COVID-19.

February of 2020 appeared to be as spectacular as 2019 had been. Elaine’s older sister, Clarissa, traveled to Scotland to celebrate Elaine’s birthday and Valentine’s Day. They took Scotland and London by storm, eating Scottish food, visiting Harry Potter hot spots, wandering castles and museums. Completely fantastic, aside from the text messages urging travelers to avoid taking the underground due to the “Novel Coronavirus.” Ten days later when Clarissa arrived back in the States, the virus was turning to a pandemic.

On March 24, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee called for a statewide lockdown, making Washington the first state to do so. No one had ever heard of such a thing, let alone lived in one. Worksites and schools were closing. The world was tipping.

Eight times zones away, in Glasgow, the story was dire. Students by the droves were locking their flat doors, abandoning possessions, and taking any available flight out. We were in the process of arranging this for Elaine, when she called early one morning.

Four days after Washington locked down, my husband woke me. “Family meeting right now. Elaine.” Due to the time difference, her day is almost over by the time we wake up. Stumbling into my husband’s office, wrapped in a bathrobe, I met a sight I hadn’t expected. All five of our faces staring at each other. Thank you, Zoom. In the upper left corner of my computer screen, in a darkened square, sat my intrepid 27-year-old daughter, whispering from her bed in Scotland, “I haven’t been able to breathe for two days. It’s getting worse.”

Read the rest of this article in the full digital issue below.

Carrie Lynn is an avid reader and emerging writer living in Vancouver. Her first memoir, “Finding Fitzgerald,” is now available. When not reading or writing, she can be found coordinating Vancouver’s nonprofit Winter Hospitality Overflow (W.H.O.) or traveling with her family.

Comments (2)

  • Carrie Lynn

    Thank you, Martha, I am grateful for our family’s outcome. I know so many others that didn’t have as positive of an outcome as we received. I do hope it will reinforce the actual concern this virus has. We are heading into the next round of potential problems. I am as tired as anyone about the upheavel and restrictions it has created in our lives. (I also see lot’s of benefits, but that’s for another time and discussion). I really believe if we keep being vigilent we will see an outcome more like my family received.

  • Martha Maier

    Carrie — thanks for the wonderful, yet terrifying, story. I’m glad all ended well for Elaine and your family. But you do reinforce the dangers of COVID-19 and why we keep needing to be vigilant.


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