Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Tears before bedtime

52 years ago this month, Dave and I got engaged after knowing each other for two weeks. When I told my unromantic mother I was in love, she said 'Don't trip up.'

Last week I was on a ridiculous high and if she were still here, she might well have been thinking the same.

When I sat in a field of snow above the village and drank my coffee I felt so happy I was smiling inside. Then came the cat lawyer video which kept me on a lunatic thread till the weekend. 

Then came the weekend. 

First, I saw a young friend on her doorstep who is utterly miserable for a triad of reasons. It upset me because there was nothing I could do to help.

That day was the anniversary of Mary's death. It was so cold that the snowdrops were not yet out in our garden and ivy was all I had, so I went to lay a tiny wreath on her bench.

It was crowded by the pond. City people had escaped from their homes into the icy greyness outside, seeking coffee and conversation. Two women were sitting on Mary's bench, chatting and happy. They saw me fumbling to take off my gloves and put on my mask, while trying not to drop the flimsy wreath and they said kindly, 'Sorry, do you want us to move?'

I explained what I wanted to do but they had already moved away, engrossed in their conversation.

My fingers were so cold that I couldn't tie the ribbon nicely, and that upset me. I didn't take this photo. Someone else did and sent it to me, asking  'Did you leave this?'

I walked away and the women sat down again, and a wave of grief hit me.

It's been six years, and I'm fine. But then it catches me.

The next day I heard the full sad story about another young friend, a nurse who began her career last March and who caught Covid in April and has been ill with long Covid ever since. 

In her first week at work, she was in full PPE. Then it became apparent that the NHS had insufficient PPE for everyone who needed it (thanks to Tory scrimping, specifically ignoring expert advice and failing to stockpile essential items) so NHS England decided that only those staff in ICU wards needed the full PPE. My friend was nursing Covid patients with an ill-fitting basic mask. 

It's almost a year now, and she is too unwell to go back to work. Because of this, she may lose her job. She desperately wants to nurse. She desperately wants her life back.

Please...sign this petition, calling on the government to recognise long Covid in health workers and other key workers as an occupational disease.

Today, thanks to my dear friends and to Dave, I'm back on track, remembering my lockdown mantra - stay healthy, stay cheerful and try to be kind. I have such a lot to be thankful for.


Anonymous said...

The wreath for Mary nearly had me on tears. I love that someone took a photo for you so you have this extra special level of memory from the anniversary day Such an eloquent tribute for your friend

Anita said...

Just to let you know Sue that I’m loving the book you sent me as my prize in your competition. Started it last week when feeling a bit fed up and soon started to feel better. Thank you. Anita x

Anonymous said...

Strange to think I knew you both back then, 52 years ago.

And you didn't trip up.

Like Ana, the beautiful ivy wreath moved me to tears - so simple, so loving.

You're good at that - something to hang onto in hard times.

Thea xx

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you for being there, friends.