When they come to finally audit the medical, economic, social and emotional devastation that has been caused by Covid-19, I wonder will they look at the secondary impact.
When they account for the fatalities and subdivide them into underlying conditions, into Dying From and Dying With the epidemic, will they create a separate folder for Dying Because or Suffered Because?
At the outset, lockdown was treated like an uncomfortable novelty, like an unexpected visitor who turns out to be a great conversationalist. It was seen in the way we embraced the darkness when the lights would go out in the 1970s and when you’d be thrown into a compulsory sense of how to survive without something to which you had become accustomed.
This summer, there was an element of survival about it. Each shopping expedition a grim laugh-less unsmiling encounter with others in supermarket aisles devoid of the elderly and children.
And we got through all of that. A nation bolstered by banana bread and new puppies.
But now is the real challenge. The restrictions imposed this week, although necessary, are being seen as knocking the little joy that was being recreated, that the newfound pleasures in simple things like watching a match, or having friends over, or attending a Confirmation celebration, are denied us.
The reaction to this has been strong and if we are not careful, will impact massively on our psyche.
This is the time that we need to mind each other, because there are just too many people becoming overwhelmed by it all. Everybody becomes overwhelmed by it at some stage. We all play the heroes, putting on the brave face to show that we are not intimidated, that we are the advocates, the protectors, the teachers, the motivators, but there is a time too for those people to be overwhelmed.
We need to look for this in everyone. In our friends, our family, our workmates. There is no shame in saying ‘it’s hard going, isn’t it,’ or how will we get through this all again.”
But we will.
Just as we did the first time.
But now more than ever we need to lend an ear where we lent a shoulder. That what is needed now is the little pep talk, the little sharing of stories, the halving of the burden.
Do this to just one or two people you know this week, and while you’re at it, unburden yourself. Too many good people have been lost to our communities, our county, our country this summer, because of the enormity of everything. As winter approaches, the fear is that this will increase.
Never before have we needed each other so much.