Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • June-July 2024 • Circulation 5000


The Gift and the Grief of COVID-19

Darcia’s house before. Darcia Parada

As an opera producer/director, my world unravelled when the pandemic struck, and its future remains uncertain.The early days felt a bit like being trapped in a blizzard. We created online performances, playing music while we “stayed home,” until it became clear this was going to be a long haul. Shows with multiple singers are a no go, so I turned to bread baking. One loaf became two and in days, my experiment became a side hustle.

A designer friend weathered the storm in Edmonton until she could fly back to Portugal. Before leaving, she popped by for a physically-distant backyard visit inspiring us to paint our house. “You need colour!” she said. Thus began its transformation from caterpillar to butterfly.

This article was meant to be about how COVID-19 created an opportunity for creativity. Instead, it’s about love and grief. The day after our last shutter was painted and hung, we lost our chocolate lab, Koco. The joy of completing our home project is tempered by tears, and the final step of staining the deck of our newly red, yellow, and turquoise house is paused while we mourn.

The large rescue’s physical and soulful presence was an anchor and calming force in our family: LOVE wrapped in fur.

Koco’s walks took him all over McCauley until age and mobility issues made his adventures less adventuresome. Most summers he was a fixture outside Spinelli’s on sunny days waiting for me to get my cappuccino before resuming his morning walk.

Good natured, kind, and gentle, he loved to stop and smell the flowers.

Koco loved being with his pack, understanding the importance of family, friends, and human connection.

Koco loved food and sharing snacks. Movie nights with popcorn included a bowl for Koco.

Koco loved walks and naps. Koco welcomed any opportunity to crack the gate, break out and see the world, even if it was only to visit a neighbour’s yard, remaining safe until reclamation.

Always in the moment, Koco would sit on the deck, breathe the night air, and look at the stars.

He loved music and sat under the piano, listening as we sang.

Koco didn’t need COVID-19 to teach him what was essential. In these fragile times, we all grieve in some way for what we’ve lost. Our beloved Koco shows us what is true, beautiful, and what matters. The rest is foam.

Darcia lives in McCauley.

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