When April Was Cancelled

Life can change in a split second. One day my father-in-law was fine, at least he seemed to be. The next, he was gone.  This Universal phenomenon usually happens to us, our families, friends and loved ones at different times and stages in our lives. We are therefore able to distribute our compassion, give comfort and be there for those during their times of need.

The Covid-19 pandemic has created one humongous life-altering moment. For every one of us. At the same time. We’re all in deep mourning. For the loss of our freedom and those closest to us. And we’re struggling to be there for each other cause we’re so desperately trying to keep it together for ourselves and those we’re self-isolating with.

My heart goes out to those who are new parents or about to welcome precious angels into their families in the coming weeks and months. Pregnancy and childbirth in normal circumstances is challenging. Anxiety about the health and safety of our little ones is natural. The threat of a viral infection creates another level of angst. These are the times when one has to handover to God.  

Never in my life could I ever have imagined it.

This is how my Easter weekend that wasn’t unfolded. President Ramaphosa announced two more weeks of lockdown on Thursday evening, effectively cancelling April. Just like that. Never in my life could I ever have imagined it. My rational brain appreciated his timely intervention and actually expected it. My emotional one could not even watch his address to the end. Once he had announced the additional time, I had to leave the room.

The next day, Good Friday, I tried to keep myself pre-occupied. I allowed my OCD free reign as I tackled my youngest son’s bedroom. I attacked the toy box and rearranged the storage ladder with a vengeance. I was like a trooper following out an order, didn’t stop until I had annihilated the enemy. The scattered toys, puzzle pieces, books, everything that was everywhere except where it needed to be. My medal was a huge sense of accomplishment.

The migraine-mania has become a common occurrence since #StayAtHome.

That accomplishment was short-lived as I think it induced a migraine later that evening. The migraine-mania has become a common occurrence since #StayAtHome. The headaches were there before, but they’ve intensified since.

By Saturday, I had finished the last of my drugs. Further panic set in. Like fuel on a fire. Mr T recommended that I see a doctor. I called our nearest healthcare centre. Perhaps I could do a Skype call, as they have been broadcasting via email and text. At around 15:30, they were closed already.

Ok, so I’d have to self-medicate. Called our closest pharmacy. Closed. By this time, I was in no state to go out on my own. Mr T came to the rescue. His first stop was Dischem. No need to call ahead, surely, they would be open. Closed. He then tried Morningside Dispensary. Closed. The pharmacies at Morningside and Sandton Clinics were next. Closed.

After each call to report the bad news, the tension flared further.  If I had not been on a video call with Meneesha during this time, keeping me entertained and sane, I would have probably collapsed. He eventually found the PnP pharmacy open, almost two hours after he had left on his mission to forage for narcotics.

The whole episode highlighted a simple fact; this lockdown is not the time to wean yourself off anything that has given you some sort of comfort or pleasure BC (before Corona). At the beginning, there were many well-meaning souls who were inspiring others to use the initial 21 days to overcome any bad habits or instill new ones. And I bought into that. It made sense. Use the time productively.

If you make it out alive, then that’s your inspiration to give it up if you really want to.

But lockdown is not a time to experiment on anything that you could not master before. If smoking helps calm you, keep smoking. If you make it out alive, then that’s your inspiration to give it up if you really want to. Do you have an alcoholic beverage of choice? Savour it, if you stocked up before lockdown. You’re not driving anywhere. More cake? Chocolate? Crisps? Have them! Snacks and goodies have not been cancelled.

I always advocate a healthy lifestyle, but this is an extraordinary time. We’re at war against a silent enemy and we need artillery. My only caveat is that it should be in moderation. Pace yourself. We’ve been given the extra 14 days. Our only life goal right now is to flatten the curve. That’s challenging enough!

Reach out to others. Call your people. Video calling is best. Never been my favourite, but now it is. Thank you, Donald (the yellow bone, not the orange one) for springing that video call on me, forcing me to stare at my bare-faced, middle-aged reflection. I avoid the mirror these days.

Pain is clearly a potent muse for me.

I’ve seen some lovely ideas inspiring the creation of time capsules, to open in 2040 or whenever with the grandkids, perhaps… this is mine. I’ve written four pieces in four weeks; more than I’ve been able to do in the last six months. Pain is clearly a potent muse for me.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds. It should never be our worry. That’s the future and a huge part of our everyday anxiety. And in the time of Covid-19, it’s not guaranteed.

For now, all I want is to be headache-free. And to have enough toilet paper and snacks. What do they say about the simple things?

I’m trying my absolute best. Hope you are too.


  1. Hey Robyn,
    There’s days when I feel your pain? It’s been like a real rollercoaster ride. And trust me, you are not the only one feeling this way. It is like a bomb has landed and we are left to scavenge our way out. Talk about trauma!!!

    But there’s always the ray of sunshine that we can look forward to? Praying this ends soon ?

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