PrimeTime Magazine Spring 2020 - Page 18

How music, poetry and art are getting me through isolation (along with ‘a little help from my friends’) MARGARET PATRICIA EATON ‘Pilgrimage’ (see text box) is from “Celtic Trilogy’, a poem inspired by my Irish roots and which won first prize in the New Brunswick Writer’s Federation Literary Competition in 2009. It references my visit to the cemetery in Midleton, Co. Cork, in search of the graves of my great-grandparents who died within one day of each other during the 1918-1919 Spanish ‘Flu (H1N1 virus) Pandemic, which infected 500 million and claimed the lives of 50 million world-wide. Now 102 years later, I am approximately the age my great-grandparents were, living in isolation in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic, which by mid-April had resulted in over 130,000 deaths world-wide, Margaret Patricia Eaton has contributed to PrimeTime since 2012. Credit: Karen Casey Photography with over 2 million infected. But while there are similarities between the pandemics, there are differences. For one thing, the death toll to date, while horrible, is much lower than that of the Spanish ‘flu and the recovery rate appears better. And although isolated, we are well-connected through social media, while in 1918 there was a considerable time delay before news of my great-grandparents’ deaths was received by their daughter (my grandmother), then living in Guernsey. But today I am in contact with Irish, English, Nova Scotian and American cousins, and friends all over the world, including China. I’m also in daily contact with my daughter, Tara Baxendale, in Toronto, who’s been sharing her gift of music, with a song a day on YouTube, since the crisis began. She has made me smile, laugh, sometimes cry, and uplifted me with music that calms my anxiety and renewed my appreciation of the power of music to relieve stress, which harms immune system and so now is more important than ever. I think isolation has stirred a sense of gratitude. Now when 18 PrimeTime SUMMER/ÉTÉ 2020