A woman born and raised in Sarto, Man., is living through her second pandemic.
Annie Patrick was 9-years-old when the Spanish Flu plotted its destructive course through North America and she turned 107 shortly before the onset of COVID-19.
The Spanish Flu, which peaked between 1918 and 1919, is presumed responsible for taking the life of Patrick’s younger sister.
“The way Annie explains it, at that time there were a lot of children that were dying,” says Janet Patrick, her daughter. “Even if you walk around the cemetery today you will see a lot of children who died those same years.”
Now, the novel coronavirus has Patrick living under strict physical isolation. Janet and her siblings can only visit their mom through the glass door at Resthaven, the seniors' care home where she presently resides.
In order to maintain the impression of personal contact, Janet and her siblings speak with their mother over the phone while looking at her through the door. Sometimes, she notes, they even hold up handwritten notes for her to read.
With old age being a primary factor in many of the COVID-19 related deaths, Janet says her family is cherishing every moment they can with their beloved mother. She notes everyone has been especially intentional after a small scare they had last month.
“Back in April, she got sick with a cough and a fever while she was at the seniors' residence," shares Janet, "but they tested her for COVID-19 right away and she was clear.”
As Janet understands it, Patrick only remembers bits and pieces of her past and does not fully comprehend the severity of COVID-19. “I think she knows there is some kind of sickness going around, she just doesn’t know the extent.” Still, in spite of her old age, Annie Patrick remains a source of stories, joy, and laughter to all who know her. Janet says she was glad to have been able to spend another Mother’s Day with her remarkable parent.
“She’s probably the most beautiful person that I know."