We have been getting used to this new way of living, staying at home, washing our hands and hoping for the best. It is not too bad really, we have a lovely garden and plenty to keep us busy.
Yesterday I was browsing online, and came across a post, in it the son is urging everyone to obey the rules, to take care of each other and stay home. Seems his Mum succumbed to the virus and lost her life. He was understandably upset, talking of how she would miss her Grandchildren growing, her life cut short. It was very sad. The last line introduced her to us with a photograph, a smiling lady, my sort of age, healthy and happy. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
You see this lady was my friend. When we lived on the hill, and before when caravan days were for fun and freedom, this lady and her husband were our neighbours, who quickly became our friends. Together we enjoyed care free days in the sunshine, gathering in the garden or on their deck, we would eat, drink and tell stories of lives lived.
I will ever remember the laughter. One afternoon it began to rain, undeterred we moved under a gazebo, squashing together as the heavens opened to a proper, full on, rainstorm. The men quickly retreated indoors, there was football on the television, but we stayed outside, laughing. Friends you can laugh with in the rain are precious indeed. A friend who then demonstrates her line dancing skills while we sing along, in the rain, well that is someone who loved life.
It pulled us up short, suddenly the hundreds of deaths on the news became personal, suddenly this threat is real. What do we do? Well once we had telephoned those who may not know, we carried on living, pottering in the garden, reading books, our normal life. Then at four o’clock, we stopped, poured ourselves a drink, we sat on the patio and raised our glass to our friend, her family and to happy days. Soon the tears fell, then gradually turned to laughter and then to gratitude as we recognise how fortunate we are with the people we have in our lives.
This quarantine, this self isolation, well maybe it has given us all time to think. I feel that I always knew my priorities in life, family, friendship and the fight for fairness in the world, but maybe above everything, it will be the small stuff that we will value most in our post pandemic life.
The chat over a coffee, the warmth of a smile, the power of a hug, these things will magnify in our priorities. I am so sad to have lost a friend, but equally glad to have known her. For ever after when we are caught in the rain I will think of the laughter, line dancing and love of friendship.
Keep safe everyone, this too will pass.