Bouquet of roses

So far, during lockdown, I’ve done ok. In fact, in a way, it’s done me some good.

I’ve sorted out my website, I’ve started blogging regularly, I’ve got Instagram images out everyday, I’m starting to sort out the mess that is my Etsy shop and I’m back making dolls.

But, over the past few weeks I’ve noticed a bit of depression slowly creeping in.

I haven’t seen my dad or spoke to him in months, I finally got to see mum, but it was through a window, with me parked on a tiny road and looking over the care home wall.

At the beginning of December we were looking to celebrate my dad’s 90th birthday, my parents lived in a comfortable bungalow and everything was ticking along as usual.

A few days after his birthday everything started to change. My parents bungalow is now such a state I can’t face going there. My mum is in a care home (which she likes) and she’s supported and protected there. My dad is in another care home away from all family. I don’t know how he is apart from a stranger phoning to say he’s doing well.

People complain about the clapping on Thursday evenings and a lot of people say we should stop. That underappreciated and underpaid nurses find it insulting. But did we ever clap just for the NHS? Didn’t we also clap for the bus drivers and shelf stackers and countless others who continued to work without PPE or medical knowledge?

I never remember Thursday 8pm, so often I don’t realise it’s happening until I hear the clapping and banging of pans. But when I hear the sound I’m grateful. My little row of one-bedroom flats where I live has several single people, many elderly, and for that one moment I hear the noise from neighbours and I realise, I’m not alone.

I recognise that I’m grieving, isolation is hard enough when you’re stuck in the house with the same person for weeks on end, but when you live alone in a small flat, with family scattered across the country and we’re not the kind of family who communicate regularly, it’s insane.

But, I’m also becoming better at surviving the moments of depression. I’m seeing it for what it is.

A bad day is just that… a bad day… not a bad life!

This will end.

I’ve got some friends and we meet on Zoom, so once a week I am able to have a chat with people I can actually see. I broke quarantine once and hugged someone who gave me the most wonderful news (and a load of baby knitting jobs), and I’ve got a friend who pops over every so often. Isolation has made me realise just how much I need people and for someone who enjoys her own company it’s quite a revelation.

Anyway, this morning my blog didn’t go out at 10am as usual, I stayed in bed, then I spent the morning painting and taking care of myself. But I videoed my painting to share with everyone like me, who under normal circumstances are quite happy to be left alone, but in these days of difficulty are finding they need to connect with others. Because I can’t send physical flowers to those who need them, here’s some I painted.

Published by bettyvirago

Betty Virago is an award winning textile designer. Based in Yorkshire, England, and known for her Northern Folk dolls and the Quilts of Hope project.

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