from Brenda in Hove, UK: A Valediction

10 November 2021

When Anne and I started this blog site, we had it in mind to record the stories of the Covid pandemic as experienced by friends and family across eight countries. When we wrote to people inviting them to participate, they were extraordinarily generous in their responses, and I do want to thank them for that. They are a reasonably diverse group of people in terms of work and interests and brought that diversity to bear in their comments and opinions. They are also of an age, mostly. “Retired” (more or less) but busy with all sorts of projects and volunteer activities, some of which had to be abandoned. Mind you, since the onset of Covid, three have published books, one obtained a PhD, some managed to work on assignments online, one took on a big new job, others took on new projects – but nevertheless all our lives were affected by the exigencies of the pandemic and the realities of being in an age group that was high risk. Some have ongoing health issues, one experienced the loss of a spouse, all were separated in some way from family. The severity of lockdowns varied from country to country and even within a country – and that too imposed some harsh realities. The hard lockdowns were difficult for most of us.

And yet, when I read the blogs posted, there is a determined cheerfulness about them that belies some of the hardships the writers were experiencing. These are stoic, resilient, and resourceful people. They have all been survivors. Stiff upper lip and all that.

And yet, there is no gainsaying that the last 20 months have been difficult and left their mark. I certainly do not feel the same person I was 20 months ago. I do not think I achieved as much as I would have liked. And I do not think my relationships are the same as they were 20 months ago – more especially with my grandchildren. When you cannot visit and see young people, the bonds that need reinforcing and fostering weaken – and I doubt we will be able to make that time up. My two in Brighton were children 20 months ago, they are now teenagers with broken voices and different interests. They have left childhood behind – and they have had a tough time of it in the process. The other grandchildren in different countries and cities would have been visited and ‘inspected’ and good memories created. However excellent Whatsapp is, it is not the same. And it makes me sad.

My husband and I are lucky to live in a country where we have not only been vaccinated but have had a booster shot. Many of the diary participants are not so lucky. And for those who live in India or parts of Africa, the reality is much different. These are my friends and family – and one cannot help but worry.

So, who knew this would be our reality at this time of our lives? I wish I were the best example of someone who coped with Covid and lockdown and all it has entailed but clearly, I am not. I count myself fortunate to have friends all over the world who showed us what is possible in adverse circumstances. Thank you again. I salute you all.

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