Lily Tessa




Archer Leo

Brother let me be your shelter

Here we are approaching the end of the longest hardest and strangest six months I think any of us have had to go through. 

It's been shit really hasn't it. Really really fucking shit. 
I can't think of any other ways to describe it. 

I feel like I really started off lock down with purpose. Of course it was a shock to the system for me like it was to everybody, but almost straight away I found myself sticking to the mantra of 'when are we EVER going to have this opportunity to spend so much un-infiltrated time with our children and partners again?' 
Lockdown was put in to place and the sea's became less polluted. Animals came out from hiding. and we as a nation became un affected by lifes daily distractions, the same distractions that have consumed us for as long as we can remember. Life had come to a stop. But we had each other and all we had to do was follow the rules and remain in our houses until things eased up. There was always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then in May our lives changed forever. 

The kids grandma took her own life and our world turned upside down. All of a sudden it felt like there was no more hope to cling on to. Our household became engulfed in grief and in anger. Our home schooling routine became replaced with chaos. What had started as a well oiled machine became no routine whatsoever. I felt distressed at the thought of trying to make the kids sit down and do any form of work when they were dealing with the loss of their grandma. I felt too numb myself to summon the energy required to sit down and do work with them. In hindsight I should have kept going. I wish i'd found it in me to keep going. The daily craft competitions we enjoyed doing together were scrapped and replaced with a 'go stick the tele on' and a 'go and find the ipad' instead. I was too low and too overwhelmed for anything more. 

From May onward the days became long and intense with a household of people grieving and nobody knowing what to say to one another about it. The mantra of 'when will we ever get an opportunity like this again' became 'Please hurry up the fuck up and get to September so we can all get back at least a dash of normality.' 
Each day crossed off the calendar didn't bring relief, they just reminded me how many more days there were to go. 
I stopped looking at the news because the sight of the death toll was terrifying me and the fear of losing any more loved ones during this period of time was too much to bear. I did however start obsessively keeping tabs of the rest of my family members, to make sure they too were following the rules, keeping themselves safe and feeling okay mentally. and not hiding anything from me.

Spring turned into full blown summer and still we dragged ourselves through the days. The funeral was had in June and only ten of us were allowed to attend. Something that still really upsets me to think about. Especially as the rules were changed not long after. 
Some Summer days were better than others. Lockdown began to ease slightly and some days I managed to find the motivation I had in me during the beginning of lock down to create some happy memories with the children. Painting rocks and countryside walks. Getting the paddling pool out and having dinners in the garden. As the days passed there were more and more moments that gave me to cause to smile. Or even laugh.

I look back at the last six months and I feel guilty for letting things crash and burn the way they did. Then I remind myself to stop beating myself up. How difficult lockdown was for everyone. Everybody struggled their asses off with the situation didn't they? And add grieving in to the mix and of course it becomes unbearable. Ultimately we were just getting through each day as best we could and honestly, a little quieter part of me thinks we damn well deserve a medal for managing it. 

I hope and prey my children will look back at this time in their lives and think of all the fun things they got to do.
I hope they wont remember how much mummy and daddy cried. I hope instead they remember how much we hugged them.
I hope they wont remember how some days our grief was so strong we could barely get ourselves up and dressed. I hope instead they remember it as those awesome movie days where we got to stay in pyjamas all day and eat popcorn under our duvets. 
I hope they wont remember the lack of effort mummy put in to their school work either. I hope instead they remember all the freedom they got. All the Sabrina the Teenage Witch marathons they managed to get in. Or in Ivy's case - all the Baby Jake marathons. 

Or maybe, just maybe, they wont remember any of this at all. And that's okay too. 

And so here we are at the end of lockdown. 

Nobody knows what the future holds. Whether this tentative normal will keep on growing until this year becomes a distant memory entirely. Or whether when schools re-open next week we'll be sent straight back into quarantine within the month.

All I do know is that things are slowly, slowly, getting better around here. I'm starting to feel some hope for the future again and i'm starting to see it in my other half too. and in my children for a matter of fact. I see the excitement in their faces every time they talk about going back to school and when they talk about other upcoming events - their birthdays, halloween, bonfire night..then christmas. They're looking forward to the future and it makes me so grateful that this year hasn't taken away their ability to do so. 

Their are still devastatingly hard days more often than not. I broke down yesterday when sorting through Lily's school uniform and seeing the name tags that her grandma had painstakingly sewed in to each and every one of her pinafores. Little things can send you back into a spiral so quickly. And of course each and every single day is still tinged with the sadness of 'you should be around to see this.' Archers first day at school, Ivy's first birthday. There are so many events coming up that are going to be bitter sweet.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel once again. It may not be shining as bright as it once was but it's there, small and unassuming and quietly waiting for us.

We got through the last six months. We'll get through the next. My children are happy and they are healthy and things wont always feel this hard. There's still so much life left to be lived. 

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