Welcome to Sally Cronin, a huge supporter of the indie writing community. Sally has kindly offered to contribute to my latest writing project: This Is Lockdown.
It’s a compilation of my diaries, short stories, flash fiction, poetry and articles, plus poems and pieces of writing from an array of international writers, authors and bloggers – the ‘Isolation Writers,’ featured on my blog.
She shares her tributes to all those who have kept us safe, educated, fed, and cared for during this crisis, her thoughts on reentering ‘normal’ activities, a poem inspired by our current situation, plus her reflections for the future.
Double Etheree – Silver Lining
there is a
A chance to reassess
how we effectively use
one of life’s great commodities
so often wasted and lamented
yet measured so accurately each day.
Time can be fleeting or last a lifetime
and it seems there is little to spare.
But during this brief hiatus
I have come to understand
that clocks do not decide
how I use this gift.
In the future
I will live
© Copyright Sally Cronin 2020
Thanks very much Marjorie for inviting me over to share my thoughts about the recent three months of lock down and the prospect of moving forward.
Firstly, I really want to pay tribute to the health care workers in hospitals, care homes and those who have continued to visit individuals in the community. We tend to forget when we look at their uniforms that they are also grandparents, mums and dads, sisters, brothers and grandchildren, who have the same concerns we all do about what is going on in the home, not just in their place of work.
Also those working on the front-line in supermarkets and pharmacies that have turned up each day, cheerfully, to make sure we have food on the table and medication delivered.
Parents too have been challenged by assuming the roles of teachers as well as playmates for their children in the last three months, and judging by the photographs and captions on social media, with mixed results. Humour thankfully has been sustained over the last 12 weeks, but I do know that many have struggled with the enforced isolation.
What I would like to focus on in this post, is how three groups of our society are going to cope with the next phase of re-entering the outside world.
I notice that there are already articles on how to minimise the impact on our pets, who have enjoyed having their families at home with them all day, and that includes leaving them for small amounts of time to get them used to be alone again. Humans also need help adjusting to the new world we will find when we reconnect with society.
This includes those who have been classified as vulnerable, primary school children and those who have had their treatments for life threatening diseases put on hold for over three months.
Those classified as vulnerable
I am officially in the at risk group because of my age rather than underlying health issues, but I must say that having shopped in the designated times, I probably will continue to do so as long as they continue… There do not seem to be many early risers at the moment with schools still shut, so I tend to shop in isolated splendour, rolling up and through the checkout without any delay. I do wear a mask and latex gloves and use hand sanitiser as well. Once home I get in the shower and wash my hair and glasses at the same time… shoes stay outside for the day upside down in sunshine or get wiped over with Dettol. I do think it will be a while before I discard these precautions, however safe they announce it might be.
However, one of the issues identified, is covid-19 phobia amongst many elderly people who have become used to having their groceries delivered, and total absence of outside physical contact with family and friends. We have been informed regularly, that with the lifting of restrictions there could be a second wave of the virus, and that it is highly likely that there will be another lockdown when the winter flu season starts later in the year. It does not exactly inspire confidence when it comes to leaving the house and mixing with strangers again as we used to.
This is reinforced with the continued advice for those over 70 or with a long-term underlying conditions, to remain indoors with medication and food deliveries where possible, indoor exercise or in the garden and minimise time spent outside the home and contact with others.
Services such as day care centres which provide such an important physical interaction with others, and also an opportunity to leave the house, have been shut during the lock down. Unfortunately these will remain closed until social distancing protocols have been put in place. But, many elderly will still be too afraid to take advantage of them. Those with families living close by will I am sure, find it much easier to make steps towards the new form of normal. But, for those who are living alone, it will be far more difficult.
Age UK is still doing great work with personal visits to the home, and outreach programme online and by phone, food shopping and other activities. There is a comprehensive website covering Covid-19 and how they can help should you feel that it might be of help for yourself or for a family member.
Here is the link: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/
Primary School Children
Teenagers in the main are used to living their lives online, and whilst they will have felt the restrictions on their movement in the last three months, they will have kept up their previous relationships and pastimes such as gaming as normal. But younger children, who don’t have access to the Internet in the same way, are at risk of missing out on a crucial time of socialisation with others. When they do return to school or start for the first time in September, there will be physical distancing methods in place that are going to severely restrict how they communicate and play with each other. Sitting alone in a square metre in the playground during breaks and in the dining room is not going to help them integrate into a class community.
Teachers are going to be challenged within all age groups, to not just educate, but be the guardians of personal space. And with teenagers that is going to be tough and almost impossible to enforce outside of the classroom. With the younger children there is likely to be a long-term effect on how they interact with others unless their re-integration is carefully managed.
Those with life-threatening health conditions
The health service is stretched under normal circumstances, but with the lifting of restrictions on elective surgeries and essential treatments for diseases such as cancers, there are going to be even longer delays for patients. It must have been an extremely stressful time for hundreds of thousands of people, and desperate for parents with children who needed urgent treatment.
They are talking about an 18 months waiting list for elective surgeries but hopefully those requiring life-saving treatment will be at the head of the queue. And perhaps all the private health beds that were paid for, but never used, could be taken advantage of now to speed the process up.
An opportunity for us all.
Even though I have worked in the nutritional field for over twenty years, I realised that I needed to take a close look at my own lifestyle and diet and make some changes. I don’t need prescribed medication, but it is easy to slip into bad habits, particular in lock down. The key risk factors that have been identified for a poor outcome from catching Covid-19 are related to obesity, including high blood pressure and Type II diabetes. These conditions are all reversible with changes to diet and lifestyle, and whilst it can be challenging, it may lower our risk of becoming infected as we re-join the community.
Thanks again Marjorie for having me over and sharing my thoughts and poem…
Thank you Sally, it has been a pleasure, sharing your considered thoughts and lovely poem.
Amazon Author Page US: https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2
Amazon Author Page UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6
Thank you so much for being my guest Sally and for contributing an article and poem to This Is Lockdown.
Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/
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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon Collaborative Group: https://www.facebook.com/pg/5SpiritualSisters/
Love the poem, Sally; it’s one my students enjoy. Unfortunately, all classes are suspended until January for us, due the the virus, but I am managing to keep in contact with them online. A strange time we will find even stranger to come out of, I guess.Thanks to both of you for sharing such a thoughtful post
Thank you Judith and thank you for commenting your thoughts on Sally’s feature and this strange time. Stay safe and well. x
Thank you Judith and I am sorry that you cannot see each other in person until January, face to face interaction always creates such a creative atmosphere, and I do hope they are continuing to write. It is a strange time but most of us will come out of it more resilient and keen to get on with life..♥
I’m sure we will, Sally.x
Thanks very much Marje, for both the invitation and the presentation..I will share in a reblog post later today…hugsxx♥
You’re welcome Sally. You do so much for the writing community. <3 x
It is reciprocated Marje.. as it is today, thanks again..hugs♥
Hugs Sally. <3
Your lovely Etheree poem should be a mantra for us all, Sally…
Yes indeed it would. 🙂
Thank you very much Jaye…hugsx
Very useful comments on the Covid-19 virus, particularly on those who have been ‘shielding.’ From my perspective I’m not looking forward to—going out. I’ve stayed at home since coming out of hospital on the 2nd March, some 15 weeks ago and the ‘outside’ is looking very unwelcoming to me. I must go as my hair is growing, but it will take a good degree of courage to get me to my hairdresser, a short walk away.
Hi Danny yes it’s so frightening, especially if you have underlying health conditions. Glad to hear your hairdresser isn’t too far away. Sally has written an excellent, comprehensive, and caring article. Take care, get that haircut but stay safe and well, Marje x
Daniel, if you are really nervous about going out (as am I) have a go at chopping off you hair yourself. I did this weeks ago and it looks okay ( at least husband says it does – though this might because it’s saved around fifty pounds). Seriously, though. it’s not worth the stress if it seriously bothers you – and who’s to see?! Stay in and write.
That’s a good idea Judith. It might be better to wait until it’s safer.
I thought so, Marje. I’ve cut David’s, husband’s, hair as well. First time in fifty years. Son in law and grandson just shaved their heads.
I am sure that your hairdresser will have precautions in place Danny and although not ideal you can wear a disposable mask to have your hair cut.. especially if you have a dry cut so that you have more limited exposure. If you feel more comfortable wear latex gloves too and dispose of when you come out. I have found both the mask and gloves great confidence boosters.. hugs
Yes that’s a good idea, especially for guys. More difficult for us ladies to get our hair cut wearing masks.
Hi, Marje! I’m so happy to see Sally featured here. Her double etheree is beautiful. We’re living in such bizarre times with this pandemic and isolation period. Sally touched on some good points. I was in isolation for 10 weeks. My husband began working outside the home again last week. First we had to adjust to staying home together for weeks, and now, we had to adjust to going back to our regular routines, which are not so regular. I’ve only gone out to the grocery store, pharmacy, and to check on my mom. Otherwise, I’m home all day. Great feature! Stay safe, everyone! <3 xo
Hi Vashti. Yes only to grocery store, garden centre and for walks. Haven’t seen my mum and dad for ages. Missing them dreadfully. Four of us at home, me hubby and my two daughters. Xxx
Thanks Vashti.. we have been working from home for 20 + years now and have tended to live out of the way either up a mountain or in a rural backwater. But even I have felt a bit stir crazy this last couple of weeks… I was very excited in going out twice this week to the supermarket and the Garden Centre! Things I took for granted are looking very special right now including our local cinema reopening with social distancing soon…xx
Yes we had an outing to the garden centre today and beginning of this week I met up with an old friend for a socially distanced walk in the country park. It was a real treat!
I certainly have appreciated things much more that I was taking for granted. xx
Yes me too Sally. xx
I think I may be in your spam folder Marje.. sorry… it happens a lot.. hugs
Found a couple comments in my spam folder now released!
A great post! Sally’s poem is perfect.
Thank you Darlene. Yes it’s nice to hope for a silver lining. We need it after all this.
Thanks very much Darlene…hugsx
Perfect post and poem for thoughtful reflections and action, Sally and Marje! Thanks. <3
Thank you Bette, Sally’s poem is fabulous. <3
Thank you very much Bette..♥
I love the poem, Sally. It’s been a stressful time in all our lives, but I agree, it’s taught us to appreciate the blessings we have <3
Yes it’s a wonderful poem Jacquie. And a very stressful time in our lives. Let’s hope for better times Jacquie. <3
Thank you Jacquie.. and I am sure that most of us will be the stronger for it.. ♥
Life is all about adjustments. For nearly 4 months now, adjustments have been a way of life. You gave us a most provocative view of this, Sally. Here’s to the survivor in each of us! <3
Yes indeed Annette. We’re all learning to live with the new normal as best we can. Take care, Marje x
Thank you Annette and I agree.. and here’s to the survivor in each of us ♥
A beautiful Double Etheree from Sally, she is a mistress of Etheree, lol. Fantastic entry this will be, so full of truth and information as always from Sal. And hope, lots of hope for the new world. Hugs to both of you. ❤ xxxx
Yes I agree Debby a fabulous entry. We need lots of hope. Hugs to you both. x
Thanks Debby for a lovely comment and hopefully despite all the restrictions rolling out into the future it will bring us all closer together..♥♥
Yes there has been and hopefully will continue to be some positives out of this time. <3
We must collectively all keep focus on that Sal <3 xx
I loved this, Sally and Marjorie. Your poem seems to crystallise our Covid isolation. And your thoughts were spot on in identifying some of the main issues of concern. Toni x
Thank you Toni. Yes Sally speaks for us all. Such difficult times but hopefully there will be a silver lining. Marje x
Thank you very much Toni, I am sure as we emerge we will gain more confidence.. the human spirit is tough to keep down for long.. xx
Reading your insightful post, I’m wondering if there are going to be long-term psychological effects on people from the pandemic.
Thanks Liz..I am sure that for most of us it will be heightened awareness, but for some I am sure there will be difficulties in having confidence in interacting with people and crowded places again. x
I expect you’re right. Right now, I’m in the latter group.
Sally’s poem is perfect and her reflections on the lockdown are right on. Many thanks for sharing.
Reblogged on « Improvisation » The Art of Living
Thank you, appreciate that. And know that Sally will too. 🙂
Thank again William and sharing on Tumblr..hugs
You have shared some of my anxieties here, Sally. Greg, who is already introverted, has withdrawn entirely from society; Michael, who had just settled into high school, has been total disrupted with his studies and socialising and I hope it won’t permanently impact his ability to make friends at his new school. He can’t go back until Sept as it is very unsafe here now. I am hearing of infections among people I know every day now. My mom has also become withdrawn and a bit depressed. It is harder and harder to lift her up.
It’s such a difficult time Robbie and the impacts are so far reaching. So sorry to hear about Greg and Michael and your mum. My parents are struggling too. Especially as their ceiling collapsed in their house recently and coping with this on top of everything for an elderly couple is just too much. Take care, hugs. Marje
That must have felt like the last straw for them Marje.. I hope they managed to get it fixed..hugs
They are having a bit of a battle with the insurance company and it’s difficult at the moment to get contractors in to do the job. But hopefully it will be resolved before too long. It really annoys me how mean and petty the insurance companies seem to be to elderly people. 🙁
They have a policy of saying no as many times as it takes for you to go away… it is not what I call customer service…x and just to let you know I have responded to all comments up to Robbies but I know several have not appeared.. sorry that I have been a bit of a problem in the spam department.. xx
No it’s dreadful. I’ve released all the comments I can find Sally. Xx
Thank you Marje.. sorry to be such a pain..hugsxx
No problem. Hugs. xx
That’s what I thought Sally. Poor Mum it’s criminal when they’re elderly – my dad is 91. Luckily my mum is 13 years younger but she’s struggling with it all too. Thanks for your email, will release you from the comments! x
Thanks Marje..sending bail money…hugsx
Ha Ha. Would be useful as I’m on furlough! Lol. x
Oh gosh, Marje, that is unfortunate.
Yes, certainly has been Robbie. But hopefully will be fixed before too long. I’m hoping I might be able to go up to see them before too long.
Sorry to hear that Robbie and at the moment of course with travel restrictions you cannot even take your annual break. All the time the infection rate is so high it is just not worth the risk. I do hope things improve as they have here for you soon. xx
I am sure it will, Sally. It is also winter here, and an unusually cold one so that makes people feel a bit bleaker. Luckily, it will soon be spring. I’m fine. I have my new book to look forward to and some splendid cake idea.
Great and look forward to showcasing both…hugsx
It’s nice to have your new book and cake ideas to look forward to Robbie and the Spring too. Any way I can help do let me know. x
Right on, We are all masters of our own fate.
Yes we have to follow our own Guidelines Barbara.
Thanks Barbara and we are…xx
Yes absolutely. xx