This will very much be a Covid end to a year of sadness.
I guess it was inevitable. Daughter two tested positive at the end of November, having caught the virus at school. So much for all those reports saying the kids are catching it outside school. Daughter two hasn’t been out for weeks except to school. In our area the virus is running riot round the schools. Only son’s school converted to online only last week. Daughter three’s school is operating with up to 40% of the students missing and several teachers ill, two seriously. There will now, several weeks after the schools started going into meltdown, be mass testing – just in time for the holidays, but too late to prevent the spread of the virus throughout people’s homes this Christmas.
On Saturday I tested positive, having initially tested negative following daughter two’s positive test. Everyone else has now had a re-test. My partner is coughing and can’t taste or smell, only son has got ‘burning eyes’ and daughter three seems to have a cold so I am fully expecting everyone to be positive. I have to isolate for 10 days from when I first showed symptoms. The first day I can go out is the day that would have been daughter one’s 21st birthday. In a way it is fitting.
The weeks leading up to her birthday have been hard. I have felt a lot of pressure to do something amazing for her birthday. I don’t want to let her down. I’ve gone round and round in my head what we can do. I’ve spoken to the kids who really don’t want to talk about it. I’ve spoken to her friends. I’ve looked at the tiers and factored in London being in tier 3 by next week. I worked out we could go for a walk outside and meet one of her friends outside and have a drink [and a Scotch egg]. We could play some of her music, we could make a cake, we could eat her favourite food. My mum had already ruled herself out because of Covid, but we could have done a remote party. Her friends suggested a Zoom event. That was making me anxious. Zoom puts all the focus on us, her family, to lead. I don’t think I can do it that day. I know the kids won’t do Zoom.
Now with the virus going around the house, we are more restricted. But maybe that is better. Maybe we should just focus on each other and be together and think about daughter one – not that we don’t think about her every single second of every single day. Daughter two is watching every film and tv programme she ever watched with her sister. We live, breathe and dream of daughter one.
I don’t know why, but it occurred to me today that 21 years ago this whole period from her funeral until her birthday marked my pregnancy. This whole period has been one of just getting by, waiting for time to pass, waiting for it to seem real. I wonder now if it ever will. Daughter one’s birth was an emergency caesarean. If we had got to the hospital 10 minutes later she would have died. I will never get over how lucky we were that my brother was around and able to drive me to the hospital that day and for those 20 years we had.