Just over one year ago, I wrote an article for Annabel and Grace, called When your child disappears down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole. I was actually very surprised when I looked up the date as, in many ways, it seems to have been much longer.
I wish I could say that things have improved and that my (adult) child has come around to understanding that Covid is a very real virus posing a very real threat to millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In fact, sadly, my child has disappeared even further down that deep dark hole. What started off with not believing that Covid was real and suspecting that the vaccines were actually a ploy by the government to track people’s movements by injecting micro-chips into arms, has escalated into even more outlandish theories, which in his mind are somehow all related. Now, the earth is flat and the moon landing never happened. A dangerous cabal runs the world and Donald Trump is battling to save us.
Right now in Ottawa, a state of emergency has been declared over a large ‘protest’ which is underway called Freedom Convoy 2022. Thousands of truckers who are opposed to vaccine mandates arrived at Parliament Hill and vow to stay until the government lifts all pandemic restrictions. What may have originally been intended as a peaceful protest, a week later has turned into what’s now being called an ‘occupation’ with police reporting unlawful acts. Hundreds of truckers are honking their horns at all hours and some protesters are waving swastikas and Confederate flags. New protests have sprung up in Toronto and other centres, with more being planned across the country in the coming weeks.
Thankfully my child remains vehemently anti-racist and professes to only want a peaceful restoration of his rights and freedoms, but my concern for him is also escalating. Because he won’t wear a mask and hasn’t had a vaccination, he’s refused entry at stores, is unable to eat inside restaurants or go to the gym. He’s unfriending friends on Facebook when they disagree with his posts. He refused to take a rapid test so couldn’t join the family for Christmas. Due to a disability, he is unable to work, so is becoming more and more isolated. He feels marginalized and, as a result, is depressed and angry.
There was an article published in the news recently about how this convoy occupation is putting an even greater strain on relationships because it’s about people’s core values and beliefs and how now, more than ever, people are cutting ties with friends and family. I can’t do that!
This is in no way intended to be a political or polarizing article, but simply an account of how as a mother I am desperately afraid that I am losing my child. I can’t seem to reach him and I can’t save him from these dark and dangerous thoughts.
I continue to keep in touch daily and try to keep the conversation centred around neutral topics like the weather or what he’s having for dinner. I don’t challenge him. I don’t tell him to do research or to look at the science, because these methods just don’t work. There’s always a counter argument.
He dropped by the other evening to pick up some cookies that I’d made for him, and as he waited outside on the porch, I ached to invite him in and give him a hug, but Omicron is raging and I’m responsible for keeping the rest of my family safe.
After saying goodbye and blowing many kisses, I stood watching from inside the frosted up screen door, while he disappeared into the freezing cold and snowy night with a bag of cookies (my small gift of love) tucked under his arm. And just like the ice that’s covering our world right now, I felt my heart crack into pieces.
I know there’s no easy answer to this and I don’t know what the next few days or weeks will bring, but Spring is coming and with it comes renewed hope for warmer and kinder days.
And maybe… just maybe, with continued love and support, he’ll peep out of the rabbit hole.