With a bubble on the horizon, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians missing their loved ones

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are mentally drained and need to see their loved ones who live outside the province. But things are looking up for people with relatives in the Maritimes, as the Atlantic bubble is set to re-open on April 19.

Kyle Curtis

Paula and Andrew Brooks, upper right frame, keep in touch with their family daily. The couple uses FaceTime quite frequently to see them and talk to them. Photo supplied by Paula Brooks

Newfoundlanders can’t see their out-of-province relatives, and it’s taking a toll on their mental health.

On Nov. 23, Newfoundland and Labrador pulled out of the Atlantic bubble due to rising COVID-19 case numbers in the Atlantic region..

The Atlantic bubble has stayed closed since Nov. 23 and many Newfoundlanders haven’t been able to see their relatives in person since then.

Paula Brooks, who has six children and five grandchildren that live in Novia Scotia, recently moved to Newfoundland from Novia Scotia at the beginning of 2020. She says it was really hard to leave the children in the first place, but now not being able to go up and visit them whenever she wants is very difficult.

“I’m a hugger so it’s very hard,” said Brooks. “I feel like there have been some instances that I would’ve loved to support my family by being there face-to-face, by comforting them with a hug or some kind words that mean more when you are sitting next to them.”

Josey Ferguson, Brooks’ daughter, hasn’t seen her mother in almost a year. She says it has been very hard not being able to see her mother in person and that family is really important, especially during a pandemic.

“Everybody is under stress and everybody needs their family during times of fear,” Ferguson said. “It’s super important for me to keep in contact with them because I want to make sure they are safe.”

‘Squish them’

Brooks says the pandemic has been very hard on her.

“The first word that comes to mind is torturous because I can’t see my children or grandchildren and I am limited on being able to see my parents who both need some support in some kind of way,” said Brooks.

Brooks says talking to all of her children and grandchildren daily on video calls has been a lifesaver.

“We try to FaceTime with our grandchildren daily so they can see us and not forget us. Four of them are young enough that they need to see us to know us and we don’t want them to forget us when we can finally get to go there and squish them,” said Brooks.

A lot of families in Newfoundland are dealing with the same situation. They miss their loved ones and are finding it mentally challenging not being able to see them in person.

With the possibility of the Atlantic bubble re-opening on April 19th, both Ferguson and Brooks say that they want to see each other as soon as possible.

“I will be going [to Novia Scotia] right away with my husband. We don’t want to take the risk of waiting till the summer and [the Atlantic bubble] possibly being shut down again,” said Brooks. “I can’t wait for that feeling. I’m sure it will be a tearful moment.”

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