VIRUS DIARY: `Across the pond’ becomes an Atlantic chasm

For these with family on one aspect and work duties on the varied, the Atlantic Ocean is changing into a large barrier as soon as all over again in the coronavirus generation



June 24, 2020, 1: 14 PM

4 min be taught

“Across the pond …”

The arch phrase describing the Atlantic Ocean has lengthy been an internal joke for these who regularly hopscotched over its untamed expanse. It implied that an ocean renowned for dashing helpless schooners upon jagged shores for centuries, swallowing the Spacious, leaving armies of fishermen’s widows and giving birth to devastating storms every body year used to be no scenario to those with ties on either aspect.

That has changed.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the Atlantic is a exact stay ocean as soon as all over again, a barrier hundreds of miles huge for a journalist in London who has a mother, three kids, two grandchildren and rankings of family people on the varied aspect.

What I were denying for years, aided by FaceTime and frequent flights to all parts of the usa, is now staring me in the face: I’m too some distance-off.

This realization has taken months. In January, I used to be centered on Britain’s departure from the European Union. In February, as Italy discovered its coronavirus outbreak, I used to be on a Caribbean family vacation. I did no longer know these may per chance be the closing family hugs for the indefinite future.

By the point we fully realized the agonize, my husband used to be down in South Africa for a month-lengthy hiking day out that used to be canceled the day he arrived. As borders closed, it took him a week to win dwelling, then 14 days in quarantine.

Work-wise, it’s been all COVID-19, all of the time, so I understand how lucky I’m. My mother has no longer died alone and untested in an Italian nursing dwelling. No grandchildren dangle hospitalized for a thriller inflammatory disease. I did no longer lose my job in a single day as lockdowns threw hundreds and hundreds out of work. I’m succesful of intention money working from dwelling, despite the indisputable fact that my husband grumbles about it.

But that ocean. The list of life events omitted across that rattling ocean is mushrooming.

Lets no longer wait on my stepdaughter in Chicago as her husband came down with COVID-19 ideally suited as our 5-month-dilapidated granddaughter stopped sleeping at night. Then she herself grew to change into symptomatic. We were alive to to assuage a cranky toddler, cook dinner some meals, feel beneficial.

“You are no longer coming dwelling in my lifetime,” my mother declared closing one year. I stated she would stay to be 100. But COVID-19 would no longer care while you may per chance presumably be the sportiest 84-one year-dilapidated in Rochester, N.Y.

I did no longer trot to my first college reunion in 20 years or host a birthday occasion for Mother. We did no longer babysit in Chicago to present the unusual folks an anniversary day out. We did no longer pick Amtrak across the country to talk about with Glacier National Park or host a rehearsal dinner for my stepson’s wedding in Montana. The wedding used to be canceled. Closing weekend we obtained a Facebook notification that he used to be married.

Now I ogle out the window as my British neighbors chat, 8 feet apart, with family people start air. Or as their kids, the same age as my grandson, coloration the driveway with chalk.

I mature to soar across that ocean 5 times a one year and shrug off the jet drag. Don’t exclaim British Airways, however I’d pay hundreds and hundreds now to win on that London to Denver flight, which soars over Greenland, Hudson Bay and the vast Canadian tundra. Closing time the sunlight used to be so intellectual I shot 15 minutes of Greenland glacier video and sent it to our characteristic team.

If the stars aligned, I would per chance presumably work early in London, soar to Ottawa and be in upstate New York with mother for a slack dinner.

What am I going to enact now? A 2nd possible coronavirus wave looms over any disagreeable-Atlantic plans this tumble: grandchildren’s birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas. I dangle already rescheduled a flight dwelling this summer twice, however the Canadian border that I want to disagreeable is never any longer start.

So ship me advice. I’m all ears. I’d abhor for Mother to be handsome on this one.


Virus Diary, an occasional characteristic, showcases the coronavirus pandemic thru the eyes of Associated Press journalists round the sector. Sight earlier entries right here. Prepare AP Assistant Europe Editor Sheila Norman-Culp on Twitter at

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