This morning on my coffee break I went to see my 71year old Mum at her work. Like most of us in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England we are anxiously waiting for the inevitable closure of our schools. So, I thought I would take her for a takeaway coffee before she is potentially quarantined and while my children remain in the classroom.
To be honest taking the time to visit her was a relief from news articles about coronavirus on what’s app groups and the general noise of panic.
My phone informed me I have gone from my usual six hours of screen time to almost eleven in the past week- a telling sign of an anxious mother, heart patient, daughter and friend.
I waved Mum goodbye after our coffee instead of our normal hug and the volume of that social distancing felt loud. The reduction in human contact felt a bit sad. Social distancing is of course necessary right now and for the foreseeable but that didn’t stop me feeling a little… lonely.
When my boys were babies we , as parents, were encouraged to cuddle them. To hold them close so the bond helped their emotional development.
When I worked alongside social services with vulnerable and abused children our signal of a high five , although not an embrace, still displayed love and a sign to say “ I am with you and I care”.
With my wave to Mum I also blew her a kiss and was reminded by that distancing of how serious and real the journey we are on is.
I am friends with medical staff who are on the front line- new cases of coronavirus coming to their attention daily. As well as every other serious illness on their daily rounds and surgeries.
As can happen in crisis we, the general public tend to grab a screenshot of the figures of cases and fatalities and send it across all forums in a panicked frenzy. But if we do not adhere to hand washing and social distancing the knock on effect is that our hospitals and NHS will crumble.
So with this in mind I wanted to highlight the good I see in many people as we tackle this unknown pandemic head on. It is encouraging.
There is a fire in the belly of community groups to help others. Pockets of people coming together to respond to the elderly and people in need.
Within a 48 hour period three people helped me make a parcel for a family I know who have moved to a homeless shelter. The family had found difficulty finding cleaning products or tinned foods because of panic buying.
Simple notes are being dropped through the letterboxes of neighbours young and old. Imagine being in your home and knowing that your daily routine is monotonous… then you hear the clink of your letterbox and a note of reassurance. What a beautiful act of kindness.
Food reserves and freezer ministry is popping up and although none of us know how we will be hit or how expansive the effects of coronavirus will be, it is so very evident that love, gratitude and kindness (outside of the supermarket toilet roll debacles!) is on the rise.
Love language- love through the written word, spoken word, texted word and kind gestures.
I said “love you” to mum as I left and I know she knows this is the case. But if you are reading this and you live alone- even if you are young ( this is not just for the elderly) please know that people care. This is a crazy time packed with fear but if a friend asks if you want a meal dropped around or if they call your mobile, please answer. You will benefit from that dose of love language, I promise.
We may not be able to offer cuddles of support while we ride this wave but generous words and a warm heart will pull a community together. What a gorgeous language that we all have access to.