The tentacles of Covid 19

                                                            Crail, East Neuk of Fife 
 There is a sadness in our home just now. An old friend has died very unexpectedly and he’s with us, in our desire to have said goodbye, to have hugged him when we saw him last. His wife is also very ill but the curse of visiting restrictions means we haven’t seen her at all. Will this awful virus never lose its tentacles on our so vulnerable lives. A friend dying unhugged or unseen is a loss unaccounted for in the daily tally.

Or a family member, locked down in a care home; again unseen and unhugged. Locked down, even the words make me shiver. And when the home developed a system to see family members, it was through a Perspex screen, accompanied by a carer and communication was through a phone. The similarities to prison life not lost on anyone. And what is their offence? It’s getting frail, older and to become the unseen; protected from viruses and hidden from life.

For a time the families’ rebelliousness meant daily meetings in the car park were allowed but now even that has gone. 

The virus is spreading and moving into the seasons of darkness, it feels like a new phase again. Another challenge to be faced. The loo roll mountains have yet to be gathered so it can’t be too bad, can it? Our city Edinburgh has escaped a festival bombardment this year, but still the tourists come with their big coats and rucksacks on, ready to clatter over our cobbles and stare up at the scenery, that still thrills me with it’s beauty. I’m so ambivalent towards them. I want to say go home, stop sharing your viruses with us. And yet I welcome their colour and chatter. At the heart of lockdown the city scared me with it’s closed, austere facade. An opening scene of a disaster film but the disastrous effects as yet still hidden in its empty streets. I fear a return to that and yet I wonder at those visitors so confident in their health they tackle airports, planes, taxis, hotels and bars. 

We however are not straying far, my boldest step so far two nights in my friends caravan. We talked, hid from the rain, wondered about the future and peeped out in the sun when we could. 

It was so enjoyable to have that time together but I noticed a need to be home as well as soon as our time was over. I just managed to climb into the van, so different from last year. My other grief this year is the recognition I’m getting worse. I ordered a stair lift this week. Grannies’ stair rocket said our son. I fear our grandson may be disappointed at the speed of this rocket.

Our grandsons birthday party lit up our world this week. In spite of a range of lovely gifts, a plastic ball and a bubble machine were what lit up his day. It’s the little things as ever that please.

And for us the ability to share it with him was the best gift of all. Holding those we love close is our theme just now and probably for some time to come. And like bubble machines and plastic footballs it feels almost as fragile. But as a wise doctor once said to me, there will be better times, especially if we recognise what and who matter most. 

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