When the World Health Organisation said the word “pandemic” back in March, it seemed that the world finally sat up and took note of what was happening. Pandemic is defined by the W.H.O. as an epidemic occurring across several countries and at its worst worldwide. CoronaVirus, Covid19 or all the other names that people have called it fits the pandemic description exactly. It’s diverse, spread the world and grown at an alarming rate
What did the world do?
The world reacted. Some quickly, some not so quickly. Some shut borders instantly, some didn’t. Every countries leader had their way of dealing with it. There were no right or wrongs. Every countries layout and borders meant that different methodology was required. There were however, numerous reports across the world stating how well New Zealand in particular had managed their lockdown. New Zealand government, very quickly introduced a four tier lockdown system, the country immediately being put at level two.
Within a short space of time, New Zealand were at level 4. Level 4 involved closing schools and moving to home schooling, non essential workplaces were closed and severe social gathering and travel restrictions put in place. New Zealand’s leader Jacinta Arden also declared a national emergency giving additional power to those that needed to assist in controlling the situation New Zealand’s approach focused on border control, this being much easier to apply for an island state as opposed to somewhere in mainland Australia.
My household over the last year has changed dramatically. Due to becoming a widow at the age of forty-eight, I found my lifestyle altering. I now was living in a four bedroom house, just me. It was evident very quickly that this was not feasible for long term. After all what would I do with all the other space?
My mother had become sick shortly before the death of my husband and following talks with my Dad over her care and his need for support, he came up with the idea of my moving in with them. Going back home after thirty years! Challenging idea. I chatted with my brother too, another point of view and realised very quickly that this was, as Spock would say in Star Trek, “the logical response.” My household then went from party of one to party of three and a new stage in life begun.
Nursing someone who is chronically sick during a pandemic is a troubling time. Every little thing you do, you question. Every time you know you have to leave the house you prepare yourself mentally. While at home, lockdown had the potential to make or break the new living situation. My parents had never lived with me as an adult as I had moved out when I was eighteen so had no idea of my habits and how I went about my day. Of course sitting around all day in my night attire was now a no-go! Walking from bathroom to bedroom without a towel, a no-go but you learn to adapt. Life had most definitely changed.
Each day through lockdown (which for us lasted twelve weeks), we would spend time together, Dad had pretty much been on a semi-lockdown since my mums diagnosis so he slid from a semi through to a permanent lockdown. I joined him! Dad and I pottered about the house. Cupboards were cleaned. Junk got thrown out. A room was taken apart and redecorated. Pictures were hung up in my room. Emails were caught up on. Books were read. Music was listened to.
The best part of the whole thing was the amount of quality time we were sharing. Time that we hadn’t shared for what seemed like years. Lisa Wilkinson, host of The Project said this of her lockdown time with her husband. “We spent the first couple of weeks looking at each other thinking, ‘I don’t know if I can cope with this’. So we had, let’s just call it, some serious ironing out to do and a lot of negotiation and the occasional raised voice in frustration. “
Time with my parents
Time with my parents could have gone this way given that they hadn’t shared a house with me, alone, for thirty years but it didn’t. Mornings were given to my Dad, the resident barista, having a coffee ready when I got up. Mornings also gave me time with Mum while I completed her cares. We chatted, laughed and joked about how she was “borrowing” clothes from me and had stolen my moisturiser!
Discussions with Dad have been fun. He has been introducing me to his YouTube videos that he watches daily which led onto me buying and reading a book by Ben Shapiro. We have also been going through old movies. It started after the death of Kirk Douglas with Dad discussing 20000 Leagues under the sea. I found the dvd for $6 and we watched it together. I had never seen it yet it was the first film he ever saw at the cinema. Last night I was introduced to 12 Angry Men from 1957. What a film. I loved it!
Dad and I sit together each morning and if I am honest, we spend 99% of the day together. I don’t feel the need to go to my room for peace and quiet. I’m settled and can work in the same space as him. Each evening we decide on dinner and he is now getting more relaxed about letting me cook. I’m not a bad cook, that’s not to say I wasn’t in the past. I used to be terrible! But I enjoy cooking so much. To cook for someone who clears their plate every time is a pleasure. Quality time, giving back for the years my parents cared for me.
Has lockdown changed me?
Lockdown has encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone. Watching movies from the 50s is something I may never have usually entertained but I am enjoying it. Watching videos from Ben Shapiro was something I always nodded politely at, but now I am watching too. Reading books I never would have read. Again, out of my comfort zone.
Its also brought me closer to my parents. I have learnt things about them as I know they have learnt about me. Its reminded me that I don’t need to say anything to my Dad, it’s almost like a twin telepathy sometimes! Its reminded me how much I am my mother ,even though sometimes I try not be so much!!
Lockdown has made me more aware of myself. More comfortable in my own skin. However I do think my parents have had a hand in that too since I moved home.