I have been self isolating for over six weeks. Yesterday I heard someone complain she had been home from work for two weeks. I guess that is the difference between being young and being old. I see the sense in self isolating if the over 70s seem to be the target group for this virus but it is hard for a socially minded person like me to be held to ransome by this situation, my isolation for the good of my health. I feel as if I am being robbed of something special. I think it is a common feeling due to Covid-19. Our Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made a big deal of letting one family with children visit another family with their children but still says to be careful around the over 70s. Meaning I guess that having grandchildren visit isn't a great idea. But that doesn't take into account the mental anguish that decision causes. I.love my grandchildren, I love my kids but they are all under the obligation of taking care of me by keeping away from me. Bah humbug!
Trevor is into technology and has recently discovered Kids Messenger, a safe place for children to chat with their friends, with parental guidance, and to connect their grandparents. I loved the Kids Messenger meet up with Alice yesterday but it is not the same as meeting up with her and Trevor in person here or at Broken Hill. Seeing your friends on Zoom is the same. Not the same as eating together, sitting together and off loading on each other about our current situation. Like so many others I want this to stop, for us all to be able to come and go as we please. Freedom to have coffee with friends or take a bus, train or plane to see those we love. Autumn is travelling time for me, particularly out to Broken Hill where summer is too hot and winter too cold for comfortable visits. Now it looks like visiting will have to be postponed till Spring. If our current situation is resolved by then.
Today I saw four people I knew at my local shopping centre. I didn't really want to go shopping today but it is a excuse for getting out of the house. In each case I stopped and spoke to them for a few minutes and moved on. For someone as chatty as me this is torture. One older man moved forward as if to tell me something confidential and I had to back away, I hated that. He seemed confused about why we couldn't get a coffee so I explained that these restrictions are only for a short while. He replied "I haven't got all that much time dear." And at 97 I guess that is true. People his age are dying from this virus. I think to Ken having a coffee and chat is more important than whether he dies now or later. He is part of the Muffin Break gang, a group I often drink coffee with so I guess he is missing that. I am missing that too. Hopefully we will resume meeting up that way some day.
So it is get up of a morning, decide on three things to do today and getting started on the day. Today it was shopping, cleaning the bathroom and sorting among my baskets of wool for more usable wool for making more cat mats. The RSPCA shelters are currently in shut down so I am just making the cat mats and hoping that when we are all free to move around agian they still need them. I hesitate to say " back to normal" as I am not sure normal is the place we are returning to. Hopefully there will be a time ahead where we feel comfortable with life, once that is we have mourned the life we used to have. Already I have some memorial services to attend as two old friends died this week with only the families attending the funeral which are still limited to ten people only in attendance. How sad it is that the traditional funeral gatherings are not allowed and the comfort that being with others who valued the person as you did is no longer allowed to take place.
And so I am missing Ray again, missing hearing someone else moving around the house, missing another person breathing beside me as I fall asleep. I am missing the sound of his voice,missing the warmth of his smile, the feel of his arms. I rang a cousin of his today who I hadn't heard from in a couple of years. She is older than me and last year lost her two remaining brothers. She too had an invalid husband she looked after and said how glad she was he had died a couple of years ago. She said how hard it would have been for him to be confined to the house because of this virus. I agreed with her. It is bad enough for those of us who do understand. Then she cheerfully went on to talk about her grandchildren and her new great grand child. There are compensation for being older, grandchildren and great grandchildren included.
I have spent a lot of time lately out in the garden among my potted plants. It is lovely to see the flush of late Autumn blooms, particularly the bromeliads. I love the variety of shapes and colours of their flowers. I do not have a wonderful garden but I do have a great variety of plants. There is always something flowering even in mid winter. Autumn is the time to tidy up plants, pruning, removing dead flowers etc. I love it. A friend remarked to me that I now have a tan and it is true, now my health is better and I am over that last operation I feel more energised and spending some time outside working on the garden has been extended. Again I miss Ray, the one who did the heavy lifting, had a great time burning winter leaves, took a ladder and trimmed off branches etc. Not of course in his invalid years but certainly in the middle years when we still had the family eating outside around for BBQs. Autumn always reminds me of Ray and BBQs. Life will never be that way again which is a pity..
So my friends I'm guessing you feel the same way about isolation. But it is the safe choice. I know our countries will declare the initial measures are working and it is time to move on but can we move on safely? Are the conditions right for that? From the experience of past epidemics there is no way of knowing that. So stay safe, continue to wash your hand carefully , still practice social distancing and be watchful when you are out and about. We don't want to find the situation getting bad again. Even if I am sick of isolation I would rather put off returning to my previous busy life if we are still in danger.