Remembering to Remember
Today, May 19, 2022, marks three weeks since MB Remembers: A COVID Elegy.
The livestream for this service is still available, and will remain accessible via the link below until next Saturday, May 28, 2022. If you have yet to watch this memorable event, we strongly advise that you do so before it’s too late.
The purpose of this elegy was to connect with Manitobans after spending a very difficult and isolated two years apart. It was our shared belief that this community would benefit from the opportunity to mourn and honour all that was lost throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Photography by Keith Levit
Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, tickets to this service were available free-of-charge to Manitobans everywhere. We honoured the contributions of those who tirelessly served at the height of the pandemic, acknowledging its impact and reflecting on the many kinds of loss, such as loss of life, livelihood, dignity and social connection.
Over 600 healthcare workers were able to attend this service thanks to the distribution of complimentary tickets by the following hospital foundations.
In the spirit of connecting with Manitobans, we asked community members to share some of their pandemic experiences with the WSO. These are their stories:
I am a critical nurse. These past two years have been the most difficult times of my whole career. Watching over and over as loved one had to say goodbye to their family via social media platforms, refusing family members the right to visit, holding a patient’s hand while they are being intubated knowing they may never wake up… There are no words to describe how you feel when you have asked someone bare the unbearable.
I will never forget watching friends and family working to make adjustments to the celebrations of life for those they lost. We had just lost our father a few months before the pandemic and weren’t able to hold a large funeral to honour him. It broke my heart that people could not come together to show one another love and support during periods of grief.
I recall watching the Flower’, the matriarch of our family, wither without hugs, and social interaction. My mom, 85 struggled, and continues to struggle with what this virus took away from our senior population. Here’s to a much better year ahead, filled with hugs, love, laughter and…. Music!
Despite all of the down casts that the pandemic brought on, for me it was a time of somber reality. I was able to reflect on the things that were really important. Besides increased growth in my faith, I was also able to deepen the relationships with my friends and family.
My Covid story is about how I got to meet my neighbours in a way I had not before. With our activity basically contained within walking in our neighbourhood, it became an opportunity for us to connect with each other. It has made us all closer and friendlier as a result.
It also taught us how to entertain in a different way. We did some fantastic tail gate entertaining at the end of our driveway with out-of-town family, as well as with friends. We’ve had some large outdoor family events as well, encouraging us to play outside. Covid forced us to operate differently for Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings. We may now continue with those options in future celebrations.
As a school music teacher, my job changed dramatically. From teaching online and creating video lessons to teaching from class to class on a cart (with no singing or wind instrument playing allowed), to now rebuilding a band program. My objective was to bring joy to my students through music, in order to help them break up the monotony of their stationary pandemic education. I am proud of what I was able to learn and teach along the way, and I am very thankful that my job still exists, as the arts have proven to be vital to our survival as well!
The WSO encourages you to gather your family and friends to watch this livestream and to share in the collective experience of music and healing. Too often, words can feel inadequate to express the multitude of emotions that loss brings. Through the healing power of music, we commemorate and honour our shared experience of loss while also looking forward with hope.