03/19/2020

Good morning Vector,

It is hard to have perspective these days. With the coronavirus threat everywhere, filling every news source on the TV, radio, newspaper, and twitter feed with ever-changing rules, and world maps filling with ever-larger red circles.  With all of us trying to change habits embedded in a lifetime of building strong relationships, trying not to band together, shake hands, or give hugs. We are encouraged to treat everything we have not recently washed as potentially life-threatening, and practice hygiene in ways we might have viewed as pathological only days ago.

In my case, I am at home alone. My partner in life is on the other side of our southern border, and we don’t know if we can cross the border. It was always difficult to be apart most days, her in western New York and me in downtown Toronto, and we depend on weekly short trips to help each other navigate our lives together and recharge our spirits. Those trips not possible now: a painful separation but one we could anticipate and certainly an easier burden than others are facing.

I have been blessed to have long-lived parents. Yet today I feel such a threat to my parents from this virus. And it hurts to know that visits from me would increase their risk. Am I doing enough for them?  How do I advise them?

These are hard times.

But today is the first day of spring. I look outside at a quiet city with near-empty streets. I remind myself that empty streets show our society fighting back against the threat from this virus. That people shying from me as I take out the trash are people defending my health and theirs. That our world governments are run by people, who today will be under intense pressure to think deeply about what our society will need tomorrow, next month and next year, to recover as quickly and healthily as possible. People everywhere are rising to the challenge, and fighting hard to help each other, to help you and me.

And I think about my Vector family striving to adjust to change, endure the pressure from news sources, secure and protect family and friends, and find ways to make progress toward our collective mission. I’m very proud of this team. Stuck at my desk at home I’ve heard strength in your voices, the calm to find humour around us, and the professionalism to find the energy and dedication to push forward Vector’s agenda. We might have closed the doors at Vector for a few weeks, but the spirit that makes Vector strong is there in email, video and audio calls, and in the tasks getting done, being changed to adapt to this new reality and the new thinking on what’s next for us.

I want to share my pride in you, to give you all a virtual hug. You are doing good. We need each other and we are there for each other. And if we can’t rely on age-old practices of greeting one another as we cross paths in the kitchen, asking questions about how each is doing this day, then we should take time to find new ways to reinforce our commitment to each other. To reach out and remind each other that we depend on each other, and we appreciate the calm and caring we know is there in the other, even if we can’t stand close and laugh over simple shared experiences the way we always have in the past.

On this first day of spring, it is good to be in such company when fighting for our way of life against a mysterious pandemic. Thank you for being such good people, for coping with this change, and finding new ways to strengthen our bonds and mutual goals. Please continue to be there for each other.

Sincerely, your friend and colleague,

garth

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