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In the 1990s, a colleague returned from what was then Yugoslavia, where he reported on the Canadian peacekeepers who were trying to help a war-ravaged country rebuild. He described a beauty and a resilience that captured my attention and stayed with me. In recent years as the Balkans rebuilt and the tourists came back, I started to amass scraps of articles and bits I’d read, knowing I needed to get there someday.
When the airline tickets were bought on a seat sale in winter for a journey in spring, the dream began to feel more real.
Then the nightmare of COVID-19 gripped the world.
The waylaying of my trip is so inconsequential in a world with almost 130,000 life journeys planned and ended by COVID-19 — some 1,000 of those in Canada — plans that included parents and grandparents and children that will never be. And that’s not even counting many more businesses and careers halted and impacted.