empty schoolyard

An personal account from someone who wanted to share their experiences anonymously

It all began back in December 2019 where we heard about this virus from Wuhan. My usual self thought ‘ah it’ll be ok, it won’t come here.’ Then all of a sudden case numbers are creeping up quickly.

Shops had run out of loo roll due to people panic buying. Hand sanitiser was impossible to get hold of unless you paid way over the odds. So on that note as a giggle I deliver a loo roll & hand sanitiser in a gift bag to my mother from a distance on her doorstep for Mother’s Day. The country lockdown a day before my Birthday celebration was about to take place. I was not upset, nor worried. I still had my head in the clouds. Instead, I volunteered for the Covid-19 support group since I was put on furlough, and helping others unable to get out to the shop was important. I also went onto the telephone befriending service. I managed to get myself a part-time job for the NHS cleaning, as I felt I was helping the key workers as there was so much pressure on them at this time.

Then the death toll went up. I feel invincible. It won’t get me. It was like a long summer holiday to me. The sun was out. We have beautiful countryside around us to explore. My kids were home for me to spend time with as my main job had me out at anti-social hours, I did not see family. School work was virtually impossible for my children. My youngest child has learning difficulties & my oldest child struggled with not being able to meet up with their friends. I was thankful of social media for them to be in contact with others.

In April, my Uncle died from Coronavirus. We watched the funeral online. I felt flat. There was no wake to tell fun stories from the past & catch up with family you had not seen for a while to ease the grief you felt. Mum turned up on my doorstep after for us both to cry at a 2-meter distance. No hugs to console each other.

I’m not invincible anymore. Those clouds round my head have disappeared.

This time at home made me take a step back from work & realised what mattered to me was time with family & to have a more worthwhile job within the community & helping others. I began to research jobs.

My oldest was up to all sorts as teenagers do. Shops opened up & they were off out. They needed time their friends. Following the rules of course. Little did I know what was really going on.

Then in August we lost a close family friend to Coronavirus. Another online funeral. This time we were allowed in my parent’s garden to watch together. Turning off the computer after the funeral again leaves you flat. No real goodbye.

I was shortly offered 2 amazing jobs from interviews I’d had. I was over the moon. I choose the right one to suit myself & the family. It meant weekends & evenings at home. It was a worthwhile career in the community which I knew was the right place for me.

Soon after I started my new job, I lost my grandad to natural causes. Another funeral. No singing & no gathering together afterwards. 

A close friend died the same week to Coronavirus. No online funeral. No goodbyes.

One Saturday we had a call from the police. My oldest child had been arrested for shop lifting a huge amount of goods with 1 other. Due to it being their 1st time caught, normally would mean no court & no criminal record. However, the amount stolen would mean it would automatically go to court. I found lots more stolen good in their room. This was passed over to the police. Did I do the right thing? This would prove it was not their 1st time. It was a dilemma, knowing me being honest could put the nail in the coffin for a criminal record for my child. We are still waiting for the police interview. Christmas was not great with a child grounded, not allowed out or on the phone. Giving presents to a child who was in trouble with the police seemed wrong. We managed to enjoy Christmas day with my parents nevertheless at a distance indoors for Christmas dinner on separate tables. Odd but far better than some people had it.

I’m now in the 3rd lockdown. Working from home. Thankfully, I’m a keyworker now so can send my children to school. Is it the right thing with this new strain? I don’t know. Another dilemma. The way I see it is that my youngest child needs all the help they can get & not from myself & husband. My oldest child needs stability with school & seeing friends.

Why am I telling you my story? To show you that being on furlough isn’t as great as people think. People are struggling for money, isolated, & severe mental health problems. People working from home also have no childcare. Trying to juggle their work & their kids learning. We don’t know what others are going through. Social media can be that mask that covers many dark secrets. All that is shown on my Facebook was pretty pictures of my walks. How would you have known what I was going through? Talk to people. Ask if they’re ok. Call them up.

Considering all this I look at the positive things in my life. I may have been through some hardships during this time, but I know how lucky I am. I count my blessing each day. I have a roof over my head. I can afford food for my family. My husband & I both have steady jobs. My kids and parents are well.

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