By Patty Inwood - Rivers & Roads Blog
It was January of 2008 when my Uncle Pete passed away. Uncle Pete was smart and funny and larger than life and we were all devastated by his death. We were already living down in Massachusetts and I wanted to get home to Canada to support my family and be there for my Auntie Anne and my cousins. Trouble was, we were in the process of finalizing our green cards. At this last stage, our passports had been confiscated and we couldn’t travel until the final papers were approved. It was due to happen any day and with the news of Uncle Pete’s passing, we needed those papers like yesterday. I was in contact with my family daily as we waited to hear when services would be taking place. Every morning as I checked the mailbox for that big white government envelope, my stomach would feel sick, worried that our paperwork wouldn’t come through in time and that we would miss the funeral. I desperately wanted to be there. Life, I have learned, is about showing up for the people you love.
At this same time Michael Buble, a much loved Canadian singer you know from the Bubbly seltzer commercials, had a song out called “Home” and every time I would hear it, I would cry.
Let me go home I’m just too far from where you are I wanna come home Home – Michael Buble
I wanted to get home, too, Michael! Thankfully, the Universe came together, as it always does, and Uncle Pete’s services were delayed just long enough for us to receive our green cards and permission to travel.
I didn’t think there would ever be another time in my life when I would want to be home as urgently as I did those few weeks, but then Covid happened. If you don’t know, the border to Canada has been closed to non-essential travel since the start of the pandemic. August will mark two years since we have seen any of our family. Two incredibly long years. I miss my dad talking through my morning coffee, my mom hooting when she gets a great hand in cards, my sister leaning her head close to my mind and whispering something naughty to make me giggle. I miss Buzz showing me around his garden, the taste of Donna’s amazing pies, hugging Richard, and have him call me Patricia. I miss witnessing my nephew's razz one another and the chatter and laughter of every Halligan gathering. I miss the way my heart feels when we go through customs and we make our way up and over the Thousand Island bridge. That steady knowing feeling you get when you are somewhere that has been a part of you, well, forever. You can take the girl out of Canada, but you can’t take the Canada out of the girl.
So here’s what I need you to know: I know I am not the only one who has had to spend extended time away from their loved ones because of the pandemic, but being one of many doesn’t make it any easier. Covid has given me a new appreciation for the relationships in my life, and none more so than my family. I told my Dad a few months ago to meet me at the St. Lawrence River and I would swim across, lol. His response was that the authorities were onto that scheme and were out on the water looking for troublemakers. Foiled again! So every month around the 20th, Prime Minister Trudeau makes an announcement and gives an update on the border situation. I just know that day is coming soon when he says American citizens will once again be welcome to Canada. And when it does, I will set a personal record for driving speeds. I can hear my sister now… What are you going to drive? 66 mph? lol Oh, Peanut! In the meantime, I am sending love to each and every one of our family members. We love you. We miss you. Hold on. We can’t wait to come home. Xxx