Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

#TheMoment: When did you realize COVID-19 had changed everything?

#TheMoment is different for everyone, from watching children become online learners to not being able to say goodbye to loved ones.

It's been one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic and countries started to go into full lockdown. 

Things many of us took for granted—like hugging our family or hosting a kid's birthday party—would eventually fall into the category of unsafe activities.

Social distancing, regular hand washing and masking up became the norm.

A few weeks ago, NPR Weekend Edition host Lulu Garcia-Navarro asked her Twitter followers to use #TheMoment hashtag to share when they realized that things were going to be different, where they were and what they were thinking when they realized that a shift was happening.

We decided to follow suit. We reached out to our subscribers on Subtext, a free texting service that provides the latest information about COVID-19 in B.C., and asked the same question.

The response was overwhelming. Hundreds of replies poured in.

A summary is provided below. Replies have not been edited for grammar, spelling or punctuation.

----

#TheMoment - March 4th 2020, my grandparents won the lottery. Since March 6th they have been in complete lockdown in the retirement home. Its almost 1 year that my 90 year old grandparents have not been able to enjoy a bloody thing about winning the lottery and because of their age that is an extremely sad event to have happen. They should be out enjoying themselves westher it be travel, shopping, taking a cruize... but nooe they have been in their place for almsot a year without a complaint and yet here we all are in this self centered, entitled , selfish, take everything for granted world. Its very sad to watch how ws are all so privileged.

----

When hospitals across the country shut down all elective surgeries. It delayed a liver transplant that had the potential to cure my cancer. As a result of the delay my cancer metastasized and a transplant was no longer an option. I now must live with cancer.

----

#TheMoment We put a fridge outside my parents house. They were 81 and 76. I bought groceries and delivered daily to put in their fridge. #TheMoment I put a sign in my parents window that said do not enter as I sat in a chair outside their front door looking though the screen and cried.

----

#TheMoment for me was sitting in a small town family restaurant visiting with my 89 year old father with dementia. I work in education so was aware already of the impending announcement. We were half heartedly watching the big screen when the WHO announced the Covid 19 pandemic. It hit me to the core right then and there that life would be very different and to not take a simple pleasure like a meal out with my papa for granted. I shed a silent tear at that table, while watching my father and the server carry on a conversation (they've known each other for a long time) and the server lick her thumb to start writing our order down in a fresh sheet on her order pad. Another whaaaat moment! Didn't order the soup and hugged my dad extra when I left him for my long journey home.

----

The moment I realized that there was a real pandemic didn't hit me until I was visiting my sister in a remote village in Northern BC, I went to a funeral for my brother in law, we made it there and the whole village went into lockdown, no planes or boats allowed to bring you off the island we were there for 3 weeks I think maybe longer it is a beautiful place so we took drives to combat cabin fever, did crafts, the whole timein the back of my mind I was thinking r my kids ok I called them everyday but I was so afraid for them.

----

#themoment when I saw the number of cases climbing in the US . I knew I wouldn't be able to travel to see my family . Now it has been over 400 days since I saw my son and I haven't met my one month new granddaughter :(

----

March 11 was a surreaI day for us. I was in Edmonton to spend time with my sick father at the time. I heard the news that covid was now being called a pandemic on the tv, I wasn't surprised, then within a half hour we were told by my dad's doctor that my father was now in the palliative phase of his life. Between the two, I honestly didn't know what to think. My father passed away very peacefully within six hours of our conversation with his doctor. Who would have thought that if he had entered this last phase a day or two later we would not have been able to be with him, hold his hand or kiss him goodbye. What a wonderful gift we had been given and we are all so greatful.

----

My son and I spent 10 days in Vancouver in BC Children's and every single day seemed to have some sort of policy change. By the end I had to wear a bracelet to gain entry and staff had on serious PPE. much of the hospital was quiet, there was so few people in the building. It was surreal.

----

I saw my defining moment when I could walk down the middle of our suburban streets on my daily walk. It was quiet, and clean smelling. I realized humanity had become too used to moving fast and not caring for our environment

----

Driving down the highway leading into Vancouver and seeing the sign " Stay home, stay safe#" There was barely any traffic on the road that was usually busy on Sunday afternoon. It all of a sudden felt real that we were in a different time.

----

Took my son to the Powell River hospitality that first day it was wall to wall with people spent 2 days with my son being tested there with a very rare cancer yes its was and still very scary, his oncologist said that he will be getting the vaccine with the 80 year olds so hopefully all goes according to the plan

----

#TheMoment the new normal kicked in was when my daughter dumped her boyfriend last July because he thought the whole pandemic was a hoax and conspiracy.

----

I realized Covid 19 was changing life as I knew it when I bought into an online poker tournament. Normally there was 100 players. With covid keeping people at home, some tournaments have over 4,000 players. I now play online poker full time. Poker is a great thinking game and helps a lot with other other aspects of life. Concentration, keeping healthy, healthy body=healthy mind, problem solving and I enjoy it!

----

Going to Drs is different ,had to send email to Dr especially taking pictures of rash on back(husband had to take pictures)It was challenging but now I have gotten to this new normal

----

#theMoment was when I had been home for 5 minutes and was unnecessarily still wearing my facemask.

----

I think with me, when I realized that the pandemic has changed our lives is when I children couldn't have their birthday party. My son is in April. He was turning 7. I felt so bad for him, I surprised him with a sport car parade!! He was over the moon! It sure made me the mama bear feel better seeing my baby boy all lite up and forgetting that moment he can't have his party.

----

Being sent home from work and told to stay home.

----

Seeing my 8 and 10 year old boys on their own laptops for online school and Zoom calls. In the weeks before they didn't even know how to turn on a laptop, let alone use it

----

Watching PM Trudeau's announcement mid-March and being informed that our office would be shut and preparing to work from home for the foreseeable future. In the days immediately following this shut down, driving/walking around my community and seeing just how empty the streets were. It was like a ghost town everywhere... very eerie and unsettling.

----

I couldn't go to The Church I had been going to for 29 years!

----

So, what you're saying is- My birthday, March 11, now shares the day with the WTO's Share Your Panic Attack Day? Well happy birthday to me and happy 1st bday, Covid19, you little a-hole!

----

My first moment was March 16,2020. I was driving home from work at approx. 11:00 pm and stopped at the store. There was a lone employee in the parking lot collecting overturned and unreturned shopping carts. I helped collect the carts and left. We never spoke. I was very aware of the eerie silence in the streets. It was a surreal moment that made me feel alone and insignificant I started to cry. That was my first piercing memory of the start of what would become the new norm.

Not being able to find supplies, groceries

For me, it was the first time I went to my grocery store to find empty shelves, no cleaning supplies, and an produce department with nothing left. My heart dropped and immediately I realized how severe this pandemic really was. As a mom of twin babies, this felt really overwhelming and scary about to think about how our family would overcome this. With a little time, lots of community building from afar, and planting a few seeds of our own, we are managing. But it sure has been one of our hardest years.

----

It was a terrible moment. I needed to get toilet paper and supplies for myself and my elderly aunt who is in her 90s. I went to a drugstore and explained what I was doing and requested they make an exception to the rule about one item per person. I was aggressively approached by a security person who stood in front of me to block me going to the cashier. Two people around me offered to purchase the items on my behalf. Their Immediate kindness and generosity brought me to tears. I had no cash to pay them so I declined and left the store.I felt humiliated at the time. But I'll never forget the kindness of strangers

----

When we went to drop off TP to our one daughter who stayed inside her apartment and we were outside and then went to do the same for daughter number 2 and she burst out crying when we left the TP at the door!

Cancellation of travel plans

For my family it was canceling the trip we had planned. We were supposed to hit the road on the morning of March 16th and spend a week exploring Portland, that never happened. As my husband and I are both in the hospitality industry, it also meant we went from gainfully employed to laid off and hoping the CERB would kick in right away.

----

I was in Mexico and the Canadian government basically demanded we come home. I got on a flight and they didn't even care what my suitcase weighed

----

We were at our winter home in Mexico. I would have to say March 19th when we made the decision to return to Canada and hoped to be allowed to cross the border into first the US and then into Canada. Driving through the states felt like a scene from the Walking Dead. Empty roads and shopping malls. Going through Los Angeles California on our way down in November took about 4 hours and driving back we never saw anyone and we drove through Los Angeles in about an hour or less.

Not being able to hug/see/support loved ones during the pandemic

The hardest most challenging occurence of the pandemic, is seeing my Mom in Long Term Care. It is only slightly better after almost a year. I have no idea how long I'll have my Mom that just had her 94th birthday. We use to go to White Spot her favorite place and since the pandemic I haven't even been allowed to take her a burger and fries, such a small thing in life that means so much to a senior.

----

Not being able to visit my late husband in the long term care facility he was in. Also the shortage in tp and paper towels

----

Hi, I realized that life was changing and not for the better when the vast amount of people who lost love ones. Not being able to comfort both parties...the loved one with covid and their families. The final moments, the grieving process, the closure. There will be a lot of mental health issues related to this situation.

----

The moment that I needed to stop a family member at the door of our long term care home and tell them they had to leave their mom (who is living with advanced dementia) with staff they didn't know and couldn't come in to move her in or even to visit.

----

When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have 2 surgeries - and I was only allowed to drop her off in the parking lot before the surgeries.

----

The pandemic really change my life for ever , when my mom past away with Covid , I couldn't fly to see her for the last time and be there for her funeral

Knowing someone who caught the virus

My most heartbreaking defining moment was when I found out my sister contacted Covid-19
She left our family very quickly which devastated her son and daughter, grand children immensely and the rest of our family....
She lived in Winnipeg and I could not go to the funeral...
I never thought that this would ever happen....
As of today I think of her daily and reflect if only
It would have been her birthday March 6.....
RIP my Sister

No more sports during COVID-19

We were at the hockey rink for my daughters practice and the next team of boys were dressed & ready to go on for their gold medal game (playoffs) and we were all starting to receive & read Hockey Canada through provincial to our SDMHA association emails that said "cease all play immediately." Basically our girls ended few minutes early & the boys didn't get to play at all..needless to say it was very confusing & frustrating moments for parents, players, etc. We all stood there going is this for real..

----

I think it was Thursday, March 13, 2020. My Habs were on their way to San Jose when the NHL canceled all games indefinitely. Life came to a sudden grinding halt for me. If the NHL stopped play, this COVID thing had to be serious. I spent the night watching Spanish Flu and Pandemic documentaries and took Friday off. I went to the supermarket late in the morning and the shelves were empty. No tp, pasta, tuna, beef, chicken or pork. Bought a bunch of frozen fish (first time ever) and I took a picture of the tp aisle.

Do you have a story to share about #TheMoment? Get in touch with Tereza Verenca, at tverenca@glaciermedia.ca.