I wonder if during my lifetime to 100 years of age (and beyond, no intention of throwing in the towel at 100 !!) we shall once again be thrown into global chaos with another virulent virus that will, quite literally, bring us to our knees. I would like to say “oh no, surely not, with all we are learning now we will be able to contain/control any future outbreaks. The answer is not one anybody can confidently provide. So, I am starting to think, really think, about our future… Should something like this happen again I want to be sure I am prepared (to the best of my ability).
When the State of Emergency was declared here in Spain, on the 13th March, it seemed that things were not too bad… I could continue my work as a primary teaching assistant, albeit in a virtual fashion. No more 5 am wake up, driving an hour, working out in the gym before arriving at school at 8 am… No more commute through bumper to bumper traffic on the way home. I could wake up at 8.30 am and go to “work” in a smart top, track pants and slippers !! I foolishly thought we would be allowed out of our homes during the day, as they have done in other European countries. We had permission to go to the supermarket, the pharmacy and the medical centre. We could take our rubbish to the communal bins, but we could not walk around the block.. unless we had a dog. I was sorely tempted to get one!
I love to exercise, to walk up the mountain that towers in front of our apartment, to run on the seafront, to workout in my gym, all things I had so taken for granted but now do not. I ran up and down the staircase in our apartment block, I paced the rooftop terrace, I jumped and skipped. Never have I enjoyed my prosling so much .. and my Ab roller.. oh my goodness it was a godsend. Then I began to think about what would we need to be more comfortable and liberated if a lockdown should occur in the future? Outdoor space was right there at the top of the list, a small house, comfortable but simple and lots of outdoor space. A vegetable garden, a lawn, trees and flowers, being close to the wonders of nature. So even if the future should bring another pandemic we would be still able to enjoy these things.
As all around us raged this insidious disease, creeping into all walks of life, quietly waiting around every corner.. we watched the news, we were horrified at the growing numbers of infected people around the world, horrified at the rising number of deaths every single day. But they were just that, numbers, so once again a surreal panorama.
I checked in daily with my kids in London, my parents in Ireland, feeling so far from them, but thankful for the wonders of technology that allow us to see each other and speak as if we are sitting across a table from each other. This will pass, we said, we will come out the other side, we said, patience.. keep safe everyone, wash your hands, wear your mask… Let’s wait it out…
On the 10th of April, in the space of just 4 hours, my beloved Mum was snatched from us by this terrible disease. The horror, the disbelief, the raw screaming injustice that this gentle warrior who had battled for years with Parkinson’s disease, severe osteoporosis and the after-effects of a stroke in 2017, should be taken in this way. She was living in a residential care home, as her disability meant she needed the help of carers and nursing staff. They were so lovely to her, sweet and kind, but she didn’t want to be there. She desperately missed her home, her garden, her independence. We thought she would be safe there, how wrong we were. As, in many care homes in many countries, there were failings and a member of staff unwittingly brought this virus into my Mum’s room. My sister and I could not go to comfort my Dad and brother, we did not dare fly into Ireland for fear of bringing this virus to them. My Mum was cremated on April 13th with just my Dad and brother in attendance.
So, I carry on in this bubble of disbelief, I know she has gone but she is all around me. The day I can safely go back to where she was, to the home she loved, to walk around the garden she had spent many happy hours tending, to open her wardrobe and catch a whiff of her scent, then the grieving will begin. The tears will fall as I sit around the table with my Dad, my brother and my sister, as we talk about her, remember her, look at photos of happier times.
I hope to find a small house in the countryside, with a garden. I hope that my daughter and son will find a way to spend more time here, I miss them. I hope to have dogs and maybe even a little pig and some chickens roaming around. I want to breathe the fresh air, marvel at the beauty of simplicity, tend my garden and sit in the evenings on the porch with my darling husband.
My Mum would approve ❤🍀.