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Your stories

Mary's Story

What Can It Mean?

105 days, fifteen weeks…………….from the last time I saw my husband Mike to Sunday 21/6/20, Father’s Day when I saw him again! When I was informed that I could make a fifteen minute appointment to see him, I was totally surprised. I had just listened to the Welsh bulletin and had decided that it could be another three weeks maybe before an easement in visiting. I was given strict instructions- 15 minute, social distanced, no touching, no hugging, all preferably outside. Yep, that’s all good I decided. As the time approached I began to feel more and more anxious/ excited/apprehensive. I had already planned to take a Father’s Day goody bag to him so, I tried to persuade myself that if that was all I managed to do , that would be fine. What if he was having a nap and didn’t want to come? What if he just didn’t want to come? What if he came and didn’t know me any more? What if he came and turned round and wanted to go back , or wouldn’t sit down, or wouldn’t engage? So many possibilities for it to go wrong, and yet just maybe it would be alright?
I arrived early and hung around outside, not wanting to look too eager, or even get in the way of other visitors. I had my mask and gloves at the ready, a bag of treats for Mike and another one for the staff. Eventually, a member of staff called me in and asked me to sit and wait while they rang up for him to come down. It was a tense moment or two, I sat clutching my hanky, looking anywhere but the door he was going to come through.
The door opened and in he came, a carer in front and behind. I burst into tears at the sight of him, he looked so good, hair and beard trimmed, nice shirt, it was Mike. We had a good visit – he said he knew who I was- and I reckoned that he recognised my voice from all the phone calls. We spent our time looking at his cards and eating chocolate and me talking …..he started to relax and smile and enjoy himself. All too soon the time was up even though we had a little extra time, thanks to the kindness of the staff. More tears as he disappeared, but they were tears of relief and happiness at having seen him after so long. Not only that, feelings of gratitude for the way the staff had worked so hard to keep themselves Covid free and to really care for their residents. When I say care, I don’t mean just the physical needs, but the emotional needs too- they do care- they are not just doing a job , they really care and this is what means so much to me. When I think of the last twelve months and how difficult it has been at times, I feel great gratitude that he is again in a place that he can call as near as possible, home…..
Since then I have had another visit – on the hottest day of the year. We met under the shade of the big tree and again, it was a lovely meet up . I took him his favourite summer straw hat which he put on straight away and we ate chocolate eclairs and sipped cool apple juice. I took his Newcastle United shirt which he put on straight away!
I have decided to leave a few days gap between visits now, knowing that he has coped well over the last fifteen weeks ……we’ll see how it goes …..

What can it mean to you
My sudden disappearance?
For years, I am always there,
Then one day I’m not.
Am I just a disembodied voice
That you hear sometimes.
That reminds you of someone you once knew
I can’t comprehend what you make of it.
What do they say to you?
How do they explain it?
How I long to see you again.
To hold you in my my arms and hug you.
To see you smile, and smile and walk with you.
To sit in silence while you nap.
These weeks are losing us from each other
Precious moments we could have had
But will now never happen.
Will we meet again- when will it be?
You may not know me, though I’ll know you .
I’ve always known that you were leaving me
But did not imagine it would be this way
Brought by a deadly virus that snatches
Time and life from indiscriminate souls
This forced separation that is inflicting
A life change onto us all
Is causing irreparable damage to us.
What will it mean?
What can it mean?
( this was written in April 2020, when all looked bleak)

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