Thinking of my sons at Easter

Right from the start of the outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK I’ve been inspired by those working on the front line, fighting the virus. I keep thinking, “What can I do to help?” The simple answer is, stay at home. So, I have.

In many ways, I’m incredibly lucky. Although I’ve lived on my own since my husband died 26 years ago, I have a very supportive family who checks on me daily. My eldest son lives next door, so we can chat over the garden fence, as long as we keep at least two metres apart.

I began self-isolating more than a week before the Government’s ‘lockdown’ measures began. Both my sons urged me to because they saw things were going to get a lot worse – “we want you around for a bit longer, Mum”, they joked, sternly enough for me to realise they were serious. 

It’s lovely they feel this way and I miss them. I miss the hugs, especially from my grandsons Owen and Ben. We all meet over WhatsApp video for Happy-Hour on Sunday evenings. It’s lovely to watch them all chatting with each other.

penny and her sons

Penny and her sons

How do I fill my days?

I do feel a bit like I’ve lost control of my life. I can’t do simple things like using the car to visit friends or to go to the supermarket. Luckily, I’ve finally managed to get an online delivery slot. It’s just once a week, but at least I’ve regained some control over my day-to-day life.

So how do I fill my days…? I keep busy. My small group of friends are hugely important to me – I FaceTime or WhatsApp them regularly. We’re lucky to have these means of communication. My parents met at the beginning of WW2. My father then spent six years abroad and the only way they could keep in touch was by letter.

I’m knitting cardigans, jackets, beanies and hoodies for two babies in my wider family. They are both just a few months old so I’m making large sizes as they will be many months older when I see them again. I have also started writing – for myself and family – a weekly journal of my life in isolation. It allows me to take out my frustration with a pen, instead of complaining when I talk to the boys

The days meld into weeks, and the weeks now into the first month. It feels a bit like Groundhog Day. But I’m determined not to put my life at risk by going out.

Even at Easter, follow the guidelines

It’s most important that people adhere to the government guidelines regarding safe distancing and staying at home. I see from watching the news that some people think that this virus won’t touch them. They might not catch it themselves, but they could be carrying it to infect others especially older people. It would be awful if, because some won’t stay at home, there was an even harsher lockdown.

It’s strange over Easter to not be seeing my family face-to-face. We always try to get together on special occasions and we would have done so this Easter. Usually, we have an Easter egg hunt in the garden and this year would have been no different even though my grandsons are now 13 and 10. I will miss that.

But I tell myself when I sometimes feel disheartened about how I’m having to live at this time in my life, be strong, follow the government’s guidance and hopefully, this will soon be over and the world can get back to normal. I just hope it will be a kinder, less selfish world.

Independent Age is pleased to be working alongside a fantastic range of other charities in the Tackling Loneliness Exchange, supporting the Government’s new campaign to tackle loneliness during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Since the outbreak we’ve been providing evidence to several Parliamentary Committees to ensure that the stories people are sharing with us are being amplified and highlighting the key problems in this area.