Thursday 30th June 2022

2 Years Of Change & Uncertainty In Covid 19 Times. Pt. 1/2. March 2020-2021.16/2022.

2 Years Of Change & Uncertainty In  Covid 19 Times. Pt. 1/2. March 2020-2021.16/2022.

I’m composing this post getting close to the 16 March 2022 which marks the 2nd anniversary of “covid bringing change to the way we would be living our lives”…as announced by the Prime Minister of Australia.

There was already much happening in the media as we watched what was happening in other countries….and from where it all seemed to start in Wuhan, China in the latter days of 2019.

My post is about how it affected me, and our family and in some indirect ways, many of those who read here too because of the state-based restrictions and federally based ones.

Dear readers, we are a complicated country for rules and governance and it all goes back to 1901 when we became a Federation of States & Territories: Australia.

The short story is money comes from the Federal or Commonwealth governments (Australia) and is filtered to the States via government of the day policy AND State decisions are made for Health and Education.

Look, sorry, it’s hard to get a handle on this at times….I know. I lived with it as a school principal. Nevertheless, here’s my post, mostly with photos, marking the two years of:




2020- continuing into its third year…2022.

March 2020 onwards….

I was so fortunate to have had both my eyes surgically operated on for cataracts in the week before EVERYTHING changed. Phew. I was also able to get to have an in-person head and neck cancer surveillance check, attend a head & neck cancer  charity ball as the speaker, and to be WELL!


And then, over time, we knew we had to stay at home as much as we could. Necessary outings were to:

  • the supermarket
  • the pharmacy
  • the doctors

I could no longer follow this: going out each day to have a coffee and browse at the shops. 

On occasion, when safe, we used “click and collect” for stores such as Big W, Target and Bunnings. We did not do click and collect groceries as it became unreliable, and expensive. I was prepared to take the risks. I shopped quickly, with plastic gloves on, and a mask. However, many food and other items became rare or not found.

Yes, there was such a thing as a toilet paper blitz (I confess, we got in plenty) and not many choices, if any, in fresh meat etc.

So much changed because of panic buying, employment changing as people got covid and…the whole supply chain was affected: truck drivers, distributors too. Anything that might come by plane was not easy to come by because flights changed significantly, and ships were also not allowed to dock if anyone on board had covid.

We all watched the updates on T.V. with the N.S.W. Premier, the N.S.W. Minister for Health, and the Chief Health Officer….for a while, then in our case, we stopped.

It was far too worry-inducing.

It was, for some people, a compulsion to watch and then tweet about it but in my case, I decided better to stay away from those kinds of updates.

Of course we did as requested, and at the doctors’ we had to comply with questionnaires about symptoms (still do) before being seen OR as they preferred then, via telehealth.

April into May 2020.

We were surrounded by neighbours not normally seen as everyone worked from home, and schooling was remote learning.

Every day we saw many people strolling around the neighbourhood. Gyms were shut.

We got through a very quiet Easter.

And as one way to remember “A.N.Z.A.C.” Day 2020, people around Australia held their own driveway Dawn Ceremonies.

Our granddaughter turned 21 early May and there was still travel restrictions from where we lived to Sydney and vice versa…but by Mother’s Day 2020 we got to see family.

We did a socially distanced photo!

Close for this one: Mother’s Day 2020

June, July and August 2020.

I needed surgery (and had probably put it off for too long) so that consumed the next months for me. Even though I had had 4 surgeries for head and neck cancer, this particular surgery: repair rectal prolapse was not a great prospect. I know, however, it WAS a great one to have but I was a scared woman before it, and not because of covid. I admit though that with doctors and hospitals I did it mostly alone because of Covid. My husband was allowed to visit me in July but not for the wound debridement in August.

Covid Meant Rules Changed A LOT.

September to December 2020.

It was not like the world we knew before Covid.

Doctors and other health professionals took a lot of care to see that no-one with any cough/temperature etc came to their rooms.

I still got my September 2020 Cancer Check at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse…lots of safety measures and most of the place were the public would normally be present were closed. Patients with cancer have low immunity and that was the reason such strict measures were in place.

There was talk of vaccines being developed.

Economically, we were OK. We are retirees, and receive a part pension. Many others I know had to ask for supplemented income and in the first year of Covid, it was pretty stable, getting people paid, able to stay at home to work. Remote schooling continued on and off. It was very hard socially on many.

Kids really missed their friends. As did most people who enjoyed socialising. Some though, I know, loved being at home working and would like that to continue! We managed our trip back to Tamworth in October 2020 and that was a special one.

Sadly, we did not get to have Christmas as planned with our daughter and her family as Covid ramped up just before Christmas, on Sydney’s northern beaches. Although she does not live there, I had seen Dad who lives at Dee Why AND visited Manly, so I had to have a test, which proved negative and I had to come to Sydney for a mouth check so rather than both of us risk a Christmas Day travelling…I dropped off the goodies and gifts on my way.

Little did we know that the NEXT year’s Christmas would also be affected. Sigh. Next post!

January 2021 – March 2021.

I like to plan and have good things come together well.

So, I did get to see my father for his 97th Birthday. I did not get to see some family for their birthdays just because nothing was planned and we would see them soon.  The restrictions into January were very tough on visitors to the home.

We could only have 5 and that meant our PLANNED Golden Wedding Anniversary on 23 January 2021 for 13 had to change. We held a lunch for our son and his 4 on one day and then on the actual day, for our daughter and her family. It was a lovely time….and I have written more here.

By February things were less restricted and we were able to have ALL the family together for a morning tea celebrating my husband’s birthday.

And then school was back…I think…in a very restricted way over time. Our youngest granddaughter started school and then, later in the year, was part of remote learning for what seemed forever…more next post.

That was the twelve months…March to March …about Covid in particular.


I dealt with the uncertainty by keeping as many of my daily routines as I could.

  • I always got dressed each day before having breakfast.
  • I made sure my exposure to social media was less over time as I knew it affected me.
  • I gave myself little inner talks most days about what I COULD control and what I could not…I admit, I do this most of the time.
  • I also had faith in how the country was being cared for at this most unusual and uncertain time.
  • This slowly changed, but not in the first year.
  • I learned that I can get over things I have planned that cannot work out.
  • I also knew that gratitude found on the hardest of days was a help.
  • I know getting somewhere most days into nature was important and we have such a range of places here….and I know I needed to record photos and videos to share.

And the BEST part: March 2021, we received our first Covid Vaccinations: Astra Zeneca. 17 March 2021, the day booked once they opened.

I also wrote posts here here and here for 2020, as part of Telling My Story:

Telling My Story. Image #8.

How was March 2020 to March 2021 for you, Covid wise?

Take care,


Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share today

Thank you Natalie.





  1. Denyse, This is a great record of how covid-19 pandemic has affected you and your family, and what life was like in your location during the first year of the pandemic. You’ve done well with stress management. For me, March 13, 2020 evening was when covid-19 closures/ cancellations and restrictions started. Between March 2020 to March 2021, life was at home and time outdoors was for exercises or essentials only. Thank you for your #weekendcoffeeshare. Have a great week ahead!

  2. Thanks so much Natalie. It was “hard” in some ways re-visiting some of the times but also good to have a blog and the opportunity to use the space to write and share.

    Whilst I have written In Telling My Story about much of 2020-2021 this was Covid specific and yes it marks the time for how things affected me and us I guess.

    Warm wishes,


  3. Hi Denyse – what a great overview of these pandemic years. I’ve been so grateful that I was out of the workforce before all this began, and that Ross works from home, so it hasn’t really impacted him much either. Neither of us are hugely social or big travellers, so the limitations were less onerous. I definitely missed our movie dates and cafe outings (and wandering around the shops), but life reinvents itself and we carry on. The ongoing hospital delays are bothering me (especially when things were prematurely closed for no immediate need) but I’ve learned to focus on what I can change and let the rest be what it will be – it has saved me a lot of stress and worry.

    • Thank you Leanne. I wasn’t sure how it would pan out as a post…but then I found the photos from the time and THEY brought back the memories alright.

      Then, of course, the post itself grew, hence making it a two-parter. Will get it out soon but not in a hurry!

      I did find it a bit triggering (sadness mostly) for what we lost in terms of connection in person to our dear family. So many disappointments. Then we did catch up. Late November 2020 when I visited my son and his 3 girls were all home from school as they were unwell, the middle one then aged 7 said “she didn’t like covid and having to stay home’. Kids really DO need school and those connections.

      As I write, she is at home, with her mum and siblings, because “she has covid”.

      I agree that focussing on what we can do something about is pivotal to mental health practices but at times we also need to grieve for what could not be.

      Hope WA is going OK…and you are right about being grateful for being no longer in the workforce. So hard at times for many!

      Take care,


  4. This post shows how courageous you are. Covid pandemic affected all of us around the world and the past few years was a challenging time. Your photos and posts reminded me of some of our experiences too. At least we have a blog to document all these challenges. And, virtually there was no social distancing. Thanks again for sharing your experiences and courage.
    Have a great weekend!
    Visiting from #WeekendCoffeeShare

    • Thank you kindly Amila. Your words tell me we “are all connected” especially now as the world faces more than covid. Sigh.

      It’s a tough time. I am glad thought to have a social media place in which to share. And not to be concerned about social distancing!!

      Take care,


  5. This is exactly why journaling can be so important and so beneficial and therapeutic. It helps to write out your feelings and emotions, and it is wonderful to have this record of events to read back over. I want to check my journals to see how much I wrote about Covid in the last year, probably mentioned it every entry but not sure how many entries I have. Someday the grands might like reading about the difficult 2 years that were the pandemic.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Leslie. It sure HAS been one big time of change for us around the world in these past two years and I felt like I needed to “mark” the event in terms of using the blog.

      I am pretty sure Covid isn’t going away but perhaps the strangeness and fear that engulfed us all two years ago might feel less with more evidence of vaccinations working and measures taken by us to stay protected.

      We are both continuing mask wearing as we are over 70 and coming into Autumn and flu season here. We will be getting our annual vaccination for influenza before we know it!

      Stay well and thanks for your interest in this post.


  6. This is a great look back at how our lives haves changed over the past two years. I really enjoyed reading it. For me the big thing was making the decision to take leave until covid was over. Little did I know that leave would be an entire year until we had a vaccination. You had a sensible approach to your days during covid. Getting up and dressed before the day begins I think is very important for well being.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Isn’t it interesting to look back sometimes Jennifer? I admit I had to use my photos (dates in their folders) to remember “what happened and when”/ I know it seemed scary and very unknown that first year…which is why you did wise things for your health…..

      Now, into our third year, I am afraid some of my patience has worn and even though we will continue to wear masks inside, it’s become a “bit of a war” between Federal and State Govts, along with the so-called anti-vaxxers/freedom people too.

      Yes, over it, but we are heading into Autumn and flu season so we will be looking for that vaccine as well.

      I havent changed my routine about getting up and getting dressed because it helps to start the day better for me.

      Second part of the post when I can raise the energy…this one took a lot to get sorted!

      Take care,


  7. What a startling and amazing 2 years it has been.
    Here in the US, we are seeing communities final chuck masks requirements but we still have a decreasing number of folks who wear them. Many, but not all of us are vaccinated and even our media is moving on to other dire threats and mangled news (these folks simply cannot help themselves and I’ve given up on most of them.)
    Our children will never forget 2020 & 21 as their own miniature dark ages, cut off from school, friends and life in general – each developing their own opinion of trying to live through zoom web conferencing.
    For me, covid cannot move to being a pure memory fast enough. It brought out the worse in too many aspects of our culture.

    On the other hand, these two years have been the best for my short life as a blogger. I’ve met so many folks from around the globe (which is of huge value to me) and now have so many readers I doubt I’ll ever be able to meet in person. I’m still trying to get used to that little slice of reality.

    Mixed blessings for sure.

    Thanks Denyse.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Oh Gary, that was so good to read….thank you.

      We are indeed thankful for our blogs, and our ways of connecting with others we will unlikely ever meet.

      Yes to the community divisiveness we too are seeing, and the elements of defiance and more. With a clear history because of how much has been recorded, written and said, then future citizens may be able to glean how hard it was….but also to see what was unexpected and good.

      I am so sorry you had covid, if I recall properly…we, fingers crossed, are yet to get it. With us going into winter here it maybe all that is needed.

      We are both masking up in inside places.

      Take care,


  8. What a comprehensive look back at that time Denyse. You’ve included lots of family bits and how the time impacted on you and your family. Hopefully things will improve for us all soon. It’s good to be able to stick to our routines and you show how wel;l these things have worked for you over this time.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Debbie. The value of blogging to to have this record. I admit, it took a bit out of me when I was recalling all I went through that year…but grateful I could.

      I will do part two when I get the motivation back.

      I figured if I didn’t record it, it would be something I might regret.

      Thank goodness I used photos so much because they prompted me to recall in date order.

      My wish is that you and G get to do the family catch ups that you have missed so much.