IT GOES ON
Dee Chadwick
10 May 2020
I have just hung out of my bedroom window to join in with the Thursday evening clapping. I do this as it gives me a feeling of being a part of something rather than standing at my door where I would be clapping alone. Someone, a someone that I don’t know, saw me and waved.

THAT WAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE

 I felt a part of something, especially as vehicles passing along the nearby road were sounding horns and claxons. For me, and I wonder if it feels the same for others, our Thursday evening ritual has become so much more than clapping our thanks for the NHS, blossoming into our thanks for all of those who are working to support those of us who are home based. It felt more like a rallying call to remind us that we can and will get through our current state of being. It probably feels that this way of being is the ‘it’ to which my title refers. When I press that publish button for this piece, it will be eight weeks of isolation for me and others who stepped in just before the ‘official’ say so.

At times this isoaltion feels interminable. Have I got another four weeks to go, or will it longer, or even  shorter?  A friend’s parents has just had a letter telling them that they will need to self-isolate for a further twelve weeks from now. For so many of us, we wonder as the days and weeks go by..for me, I wonder how long those waves will be the nearest I come to contact with those around me. We really don’t know just what is going on.

WHAT IS THE ‘IT’ GOING ON IN THE TITLE?

I heard of this in the final episode of Ricky Gervais’s ‘After Life’. I watched the programme after the clapping, hearing the comment along with mention of Robert Frost.  I wrongly assumed it was from one of Frost’s poems, many of which I had studied at school over 55 years ago. As there has been a lot of water flowing under a lot of bridges since then, I had to look it up. I found that the quote wasn’t from a poem, rather  from something that Robert Frost had said in an interview  on his 80th birthday. An interview by journalist Ray Josephs, published in ‘This Week Magazine’.

He paused a moment, then with the twinkle sparkling under those brambly eyebrows he replied: “In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on. In all the confusions of today, with all our troubles . . . with politicians and people slinging the word fear around, all of us become discouraged . . . tempted to say this is the end, the finish. But life — it goes on. It always has. It always will. Don’t forget that.

Just as I had always enjoyed his poems and got a lot from them, so too, reading these words brought me up short and gave me the kick in the pants that I needed. Life is going on – for me, for people that I know and whose lives have touched mine.  Sadly the virus has taken many lives, leaving loved ones so sad for their passing and the way of its happening. But, for these loved ones, as well as for the rest of us, it does go on, this life of ours.

Our lives could well be punctuated by this period of time during which COVID-19 seemed to be our silent ruler, governing our activities, our ways of being, our ways of thinking. We currently no longer assume that we are on a path through life that we have worked towards; or been thrust or pulled along by others; or made a choice and changed direction to this particular path.  There is currently this barrier to us continuing on our way. A barrier that we are living with whilst others seemingly have much of the control over how we get round it, through it or over it.

But, it goes on – as it will go on for the vast majority of us.

We will never forget this time, but will it change us? For many, changes will certainly take place – changes within family and friends due to death, illness or a renewing or breakdown of old relationships.

Having worked with survivors of abuse for many years, I wonder how those who were already in an abusive relationship are coping? As they now have little chance of escaping from their abuser due to being locked down with them.  In such circumstances even getting a listening ear must be a difficult if not nigh on impossible task.

Some will have enforced financial changes – loss of work, maybe leading to loss of dignity, security, home. A fight to get these old, possibly taken for granted ways of being back onto a, probably different stable footing.  This at a time when the national, and world-wide economy is struggling -  affecting so many families, companies, businesses of all shapes, sizes, length of existence. Well known high street names that could well not return through to blossoming businesses that were nipped in the bud.

What of those who had very little to begin with? People in developing areas of the world, areas of conflict, those whose country has suffered the ravages of war?  The refugee camps, the squalid conditions of the far too many slums of our world. How do people isolate in such places, what of medical provision – how they would love to be able to be able to clap as we have for the many who are supporting us in the world that we know. I find it impossible to imagine walking even a few steps in their shoes, especially at a time such as this.

WE WILL LOSE THE FEAR – WON’T WE?

This, I hope will be so. As someone who loves to give and receive hugs, I really hope that we will come to a time when we are able to once again offer and receive hugs in times of joy and times of sorrow. Hugs that say so much more than mere words. For me, those silent words speak so loudly and I miss them so very much.

In previous years, we have overcome the fear of war, we have overcome actual wars. We have overcome epidemics. We have overcome financial recessions. But, we who currently inhabit this world of ours, haven’t had to face a global pandemic along with the seemingly inevitable financial problems as a result of this – and the fear associated with both.

We have no choice. No, we do have a choice – we can curl up and give up. I am sure that we have all had hours, maybe days when we have felt like either metaphorically or actually curling up to make the craziness go away. In reality, for ourselves and our future as well as the future of those yet to come we have  got to face our fears and get on with things. Get on with overcoming that barrier and carving out our future road, no matter what it might be and where it might lead. The road will go on – and life – IT GOES ON.

On that note, I have to end by saying – please do click through to a recording of one of Robert Frost’s poems – ‘The Road Not Taken’- memories for me of a time of relative innocence those 55 years ago. Do join me in this journey.

Take care.

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