A month ago I was half-listening in on updated radio news reports listing Coronavirus deaths in China.
It seems much longer than a month ago though.
Right now the whole world seems to be part of some kind of apocalyptic horror movie where nothing is certain, plans can’t be made and there are no guarantees for anybody. People have lost jobs, children can no longer see their friends and nobody knows how many more changes are to come or for how much longer life must be lived in this way.
Our local ASDA was raided a couple of nights ago and supplies stolen. That I find is one of the scariest things – panicking people. There seems to be two extreme camps right now – people who think the Coronavirus is just a load of tosh – who are still going out with friends for drinks and socialising daily, and those who are in the midst of panic – buying months worth of supplies that really are not necessary, being quick with hateful words to others – only really looking out for themselves and their own.
My gut instincts are telling me to run away. To find some hills in the Peak District somewhere, to spend weeks camping out under the stars and escaping the mad reality of the world. But I have a three year old, I have responsibilities, I have a mortgage, I have elderly family. I can’t just run away and reappear in a year and hope everything has sorted itself out – life doesn’t work like that. And I doubt very much that everything will have ‘sorted itself out’ within a year anyway. There are so many repercussions yet to come. I don’t currently have a steady job either. My regular hours at the events company disappeared pretty much straight away. Understandably so, due to the lack of events for the forseeable future. Then it was announced on Wednesday that students wouldn’t be sitting exams or returning to school for some time, potentially for another six months. There will be no coursework moderation position for me this Summer either.
I’ve spent much of the last couple of days feeling incredibly helpless and not getting very much sleep. My job first and foremost is obviously being the best Mum I can be to Oscar, but that leaves me feeling so helpless in all that is going on. I volunteered to help out arranging food deliveries for customers at our local farm shop who have been overrun with business, but seems they have now hired someone on a temporary basis instead. I emailed parkrun to see if I could help roll out their strategy to ‘help support the health and happiness of parkrunners around the world’ as mentioned in their recent email. I joined my local Facebook group who match up volunteers with isolated or elderly people unable to get any shopping. At the moment I feel like I can’t help with anything and with Oscar’s final day at nursery today until possibly September my options become even more limited.
It makes me incredibly sad that Oscar will potentially not be returning to nursery until September when all of his friends will be starting at school and he will likely not see them again. As a September baby and early talker he has always made friends with children older than himself and I know that he will feel completely lost on his return to nursery, whenever that may be.
It’s hard explaining to a three year old what is going on. One of his friends was housebound with croup and down to just one toilet roll in the house. We had plenty of toilet rolls (not from mad stockpiling – I’ve just always kept large stock of long life items in our cupboards. In fact, other than milk, cereal and some fruit we’ve not been shopping since things started to get crazy.) I had to prep Oscar before heading over to his friend’s house. We weren’t to go inside and play. We had to stand back from the door. We had to remember to cover our mouths when we coughed. Oscar has had lots of questions the last few days.
“Why aren’t we going to visit Grandad?”
“Why can’t I see my friends?”
“Do poorly people need lots of toilet roll?”
“Why is Daddy going to be working in the office at home?”
I’ve tried to answer them all honestly and in a way a three year old can understand. He knows there are lots of poorly people in the world and that everybody needs to help make sure more people don’t get poorly by staying away. He knows people will die and lots of people will be very sad and not have anywhere to work. He knows we may not be able to buy his favourite foods whenever he wants… But it’s hard when he’s so young and used to things being in a certain routine.
It’s not just children who don’t understand the impact on the world though. Yesterday I had a conversation with someone who didn’t understand why she needed to give up her comfortable life because ‘a few people were going to die’. The thing is, it’s not just a few people who are going to die. It’s quite likely going to be a few people she knows who are going to die.
We received an email from Oscar’s nursery yesterday confirming that nursery would be shutting from the end of the week, apart from for those who were considered ‘key workers’. The nursery have been absolutely fantastic to be fair – sending out announcements at least once a day since the initial conference last Thursday, despite being kept in the dark about so many things themselves. One of the replies to the email sent out though was asking if the nursery had been given a date for when they would reopen yet so that the Mum ‘could make plans’! People do not seem to understand the impact this is going to have, is already having.
I decided to contact my old boss at Tesco who said they would be more than happy to reinstate me in my night-job once more. I think I managed to get in at just the right time as the online application system crashed repeatedly as I tried to fill out my details for processing. I guess everyone was having the same idea. I stressed it would be a temporary thing, and I hope that it is and that the panic buying comes to an end soon and that we’ll be able to head to the pubs and restaurants and the world will come to life once more. Perhaps in the future Oscar’s children will read about the impact of 2020 the same way my age group studied WWII.
2019 was a pretty rubbish year but I am already so done with 2020.