Now that we are drifting back to some semblance of normality, I feel less anxious and have been reflecting...

I returned to the UK in early March with every intention of flying back to Cortona two weeks later as my husband, Robert had stayed behind with our two Labradors. Sadly, Covid19 got in the way and I could not return which then meant that Robert was in Italy and I was in the UK. We weighed up the risks of him remaining in Italy on his own or driving back to the UK and we decided that the UK was the wisest choice for us. Never did we imagine that it would be such a long time before we could contemplate returning to our beautiful home in Salcotto.
My biggest fear during lockdown was for my family. Robert was shielding so I knew where he was every day but my children, who have all left home, I had little control over.  They all live independently and have jobs or are studying at university. My eldest son, Richard, is a Captain on a cruise ship, so I avidly watched the situations develop for the poor passengers on cruise ships, my other son, Oli, commuted into London, so I worried about him catching Coronavirus on the tube and my daughter, Abi, was a student in Newcastle but working two days a week at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
Eventually, my son’s cruise ship was docked and he flew home, and my commuting son was told to work from home.  But for my daughter, while all her friends were returning home as the university closed, she was identified as a key worker and was therefore unable to come back. This was difficult as I naturally wanted her home but I was also very proud of her for stepping up and being there for those people who needed the NHS. She even celebrated her 21st birthday there on her own.
Now that we are drifting back to some semblance of normality, I feel less anxious and have been reflecting on what positive experiences came from being locked down. And it has been this; having time on my hands, I have been able to reconnect with friends that I hadn’t spoken to for ages, sort out cupboards that have been driving me mad, read books that have been sitting on shelves for years, spend time in the garden and actually sit and enjoy seeing the seasonal flowers come and go. While clearing cupboards I found photograph albums and, having the time, was able to look through them. I found myself whisked back in time to the event and, inevitably, found myself smiling and laughing at the pictures or the memory.
Some of the pictures I found reminded me of when I went with Oli and Abi to see Richard on his ship as he had docked in Dover for a few hours.
We were all very excited because he was usually away for 12 weeks at a time so we couldn’t wait to see him. Richard, who was a Staff Captain at the time, was still on duty when we went onboard so we spent time exploring the ship, eating the most amazing food, and enjoying the view of Dover Castle and the cliffs. And, of course, the free time gave Abi and Oli time to fool around on the deck and pretend to be Rose and Jack from the movie, Titanic (yes, really!) .
While Covid19 has been a tragedy for all nations and their peoples and I hope we never see anything like this again, I also like to think it has given us an opportunity to re-evaluate our lives. For those of you who have experienced those hectic, pressured days when you’ve said to yourself  “Stop the world, I want to get off”, well, it did stop and I, for one, don’t really want to jump back onto the earlier version. In the midst of tragedy, I have also seen the absolute kindness of people. Its almost like we’ve had time to reconnect with our empathy and humanity and I hope that, when we all arrive at a post-Covid19 normal, we don’t forget.
Caroline Brant, 19/06/2020 11:42:33
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