a covid personal story
I know there are those who consider Covid 'Fake News.'
A personal journey of Covid loss by a customer of Hamilton Hall
Dear Hamilton Hall. I have wanted to write and share this with you for a while. I have seen people rioting around the world on the TV news, against various lockdowns where they consider their liberty to have been taken away by the state and in the US some are claiming their Constitutional Rights have been erroded and demand their rights to freedom.
I have seen as ' so called' men of the cloth have bussed people into mass gatherings in these gigantic cathedrals - again in the USA, claiming God and the church will protect them and within weeks, the priest himself is dead and scores of his parishoners are ill and dying from the very virus we all know is transmitable from person to person, so mass gatherings are therefore banned but the
priests demand their rights and open their church and - simply put, murder their followers.
I have seen, here in the UK, those who still think it fun to go out and party and act as if nothing was happening and those who spit or cough in others faces when they complain they are not wearing a mask in supermarkets, and I felt I wanted to share my experience with your readers John.
My partner died of Covid 19 back in the first wave of lockdowna back in June 2000. He went from a healthy 50 year old man with no underlying health problems at all. It started with a cough - a persistant cough, and then his sense of smell and taste went and we then knew there was something wrong.
One night he had an awful sweaty night and swam in bed as his temperature climbed higher and higher and he struggled to breath. At 5am I called an ambulance even though he was against it as he always hated hospitals and it took 4 hours for one to arrive and in the meantime, he went down hill fast.
One evening he was fine, just had a mild temperatire, and the next he was desperately ill waiting for an ambulance and struggling to breath. It was that quick.
He was ventimaled at the hospital and tragically, died 2 days later.
We'd been in lockdown. We'd been staying in. We'd been avoiding people and places and only shopped once a week all masked up yet somehow, I remained clear while he didn't.
It took many weeks to organise a funeral and no one was allowed to attend but just 5 of us in all, and we were not allowed into the crem and had to stand outside and watch through the newly erected glass screen.
The house was empty.
I was alone for the first time in years.
I couldn't even go out or meet friends or share a hug with family to ease my grief - I had to face it alone. Skype was useful but not the same as face to face and in these times of loss, many shy away afraid of what to say and how to behave around a bereaved person, and I found friends avoiding me.
So let me please offer some advise here. If someone dies and their partner is left - do not avoid them afraid of what to say, as then they have lost more than their partner, they have now lost their friends and you are causing and creating even more loss for that person, and in all honesty , do you really think that helps ? Do you really think that is the mature grown up way forward ?
Once - only once - and not repeated over and over through embarrasment and not knowing what to say - you offer your condolences - ONCE - with just a few words like -
' I am so sorry he / she has died. He / she was a wonderful friend and I shall miss them. How are you coping ?'
AND YOU LET THEM SPEAK, AND YOU LET THEM CRY AND DO NOT SHY AWAY as that makes you less of a friend but more of a coward - afraid of death and afraid of saying the wrong thing and afraid to approach and as an adult, you really should learn how to behave as you will face death more and more as you grow older and many really need to learn how to accept and how to behave around others and realise, it is not all about you but the bereaved partner and family and please, do not try and make it all about you.
Less is more. Just being there. Just showing up. Just being a shoulder to cry on should it be needed. No smart words or advice. No platitudes and PLEASE DO NOT say anything like
'It'll be okay ' - as OF COURSE EVENTUALLY EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY - but at that moment it is not and platitudes like that REALLY do not help at all. It condescends and makes it clear you are struggling for what to say so say dumb things when silence is best. You do not need say anything at all. Just your friendship - your company - and allowing the bereaved to have a rant sometimes, helps enormously.
Because of Covid and the distance friends had to keep - most contact for me was over Skype and there were a couple of times when I pretended the internet had crashed and I cut them off as they were just bawling their eyes out and it was just so unhelpful and I lost a couple of friends who simply would not stop making things worse for me and not offering support and guidance at all and I found myself supporting them in return, and these were just his work colleagues and not his life partner - me - and I barked a couple of times and told them how damned selfish they were and what the fuck had they called for if only to emotionally unload onto me - which I told them was unfair and thoughtless of what I was going through - and you know what John, one actually argued with me that I was the selfish one and that call was terminated by me very quickly and their number blocked from ever contacting me again.
Some do make it all about themselves at a time when it absolutely is not and their self indulgance astounds.
Friends like that we can all do without. It amazes how you realise at times like this who truly are your friends and who are not, and more to the point, who you want to continue as friends with and those who you do not.
This period in our global history is make or break for many relationships and selfish self centred attitudes serve no one and will bite you in the ass eventually if that is all you can offer - me me me - especially when it is not even about you.
It has been hard and this continued lockdowns and denial of company has been lifechanging - not just for me but for every single one of us and realising it is not just you - is important, and realising that this is real, this is close to home and as more people now test positive and go into lockdown - many more will be saved from what I went through if we all adhere to the guidelines and stay put at home.
I have now had almost 8 months alone and thank goodness for the dogs we shared, as they still need me, love me, want walkies and attention and both seem to feel my loss and have becaome even more affectionate - taking to sleeping on my bed with me and snuggling together like never before, and the true healer has not been friends of counsellors, but my loving dogs.
It has caused me to cry writing this to you John and I have dearly taken my time putting this together but felt it important to share with others . Stuart H. ( Liverpool )
Thank you for sharing your journey with us Stuart. My thoughts and prayers are with you. If you have a story to share, please e mail it to me .